Skip to main content

Full text of "The short story in English"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 


0954 4 






r Y 



Assistant Professor of English in the Sheffield 
Scientific School of Yale UniverHty 




ifi:: Ni:.v yoKK 


AS^ ^ri 1 I. : »K AND 

CoPTftlOBT, IW*. 



All Aotbet 


A HISTORY which has for its subject t Ittemr 
type invites criticism uid risks dulness. For the 
excellence of such a work must depend not so much 
upon the facts includec* as upon the author's intcrprcta- 
titni of them, and it will be interesting only so far as 
be succeeds in relating an abstraction, his chosen literary 
type, to the concrete life of the race which found ex- 
pressiiMi by means of it. Instead of pleasant pcisonalides, 
with gossip and idiosyncrasies pertaining to them, he 
must deal with theoretical matters; discourse often of 
definidons instead of love afiFairs, of technique when the 
beauty of subject or style would be more agreeable. In 
the attempt, he risks aggravating the critic, and boring 
the reader, than which dangers none in the world of 
authorship are to be more prayerfully avoided. 

I am well aware that, for this critical history of the 
■hoTt story, these two dangers are particularly serious. 
Since the short stoiy as a literary type has not been 
given much prominence in histories of literature, it often 
has been necessary in this book to blaze, for the first time, 
du pa^ of its development. I have endeavored always 
to be gjovemed in my trail-making by the lay of the land, 
but I cannot hope to satisfy all critics with my blazes. 
Again, although I have tried strenuously to discuss all 
theoretical developments only in relation to the living 
mind* which cuued them, yet I fear the reader tuMy 


weary of ooinplcxities. Thus I can only beg Indulgeni 
and ofiFer a few apologetic explanations. 

In the first place, it must be admitted that the foUo' 
ing pages betray a preoccupation with the short stoi 
so much sOy indeed, that certain chapters may sugg< 
the robin who saw only earthworms on the field 
Gettysburg. I have applied, whenever possible, su 
remedy as a careful relating of the stories under discussit 
to other literature could afford. If space had permittc 
I would have gpne further afield. Yet it is not to 
forgptten that when earthworms are desired, a certa 
narrow-mindedness is almost indispensable! 

Next, I must apologize for what I hope is only ; 
appearance of evil. Such a book as this moves insensifa 
towards the doctrinaire. Much of its field is new, u 
ploughed, unfenced, almost unsurveyed. Tale must 
classed with tale, or a difference set between them, i 
lines of development must be run from story-group 
story-group; otherwise, the material unearthed by reai 
and study, and exhibited in the completed work, 
remain unfit for assimilation, unplaced in literary his 
For all this, theories are necessary, and much talk i 
the theoretical. Nevertheless, in establishing my tb 
I have tried to keep footing upon a solid base of o' 

Furthermore, I protest against a possible i 
standing. This book is not a history of the den 
of any one type of short story. It is a histc 
the types of short story in every English per 
that are part of a continuous short story d 
types that diverge into the novel or the ro 
that died with the age which produced ther 


the g^eral plan of the book, it is the type I follow, 
my inclusions have been generous. The reader may 
asky Are Euphues and Oroonoko short stories? Rheto- 
rically, they are not. Historically, they are, for they 
carry on, and but half emerge from, short story t3rpes. 
Type, indeed, is a cold and unfeeling word, but, in a 
study like this one, the grouping which it denotes, the 
broad vision which it makes possible, are alike invaluable. 
The class is more important than the single work. Some- 
times, as in the case of that Italian novella which was 
borne upon and yet bore in the Italian renaissance, it is 
not only more important, it is more interesting! 

Finally, I would beg the reader of this book to regard 
it as neither argument nor theory, but rather as an ex- 
perimental study of one department of English literature. 
And I would beg him, before he begins it, to put aside, 
at least temporarily, any preconceived opinion of the nature 
of the short story. 

I wish to acknowledge, with thanks, a helpful criticism 
of the manuscript of this work by Professor Wilbur L. 
Cross of Yale University, and the invaluable services of 
my wife in criticism and revision* 





I. The Conte Divot 3 

n. Stories Told for Instruction Mainly 23 

III. ST(»tiES Told for Pleasure .... 42 


IV. Chaucer and Gower 57 

V. The Heirs of Chaucer 78 




VI. The Short Story of the Renaissance 103 

VII. The Elizabethan Novella . . . .117 
VIII. The Commonwealth to the Eighteenth 

Century 156 

IX. The Eighteenth Century .... 177 






X. The Eably Nineteenth Century . . 209 

XI. Edgar Allan Poe 227 

XII. Nathaniel Hawthorne 246 

XIII. The Mid-Century in England . . 264 

XIV. The Mid-Century in America . . . 280 
XV. The Technique of the Modern Short 

Story 299 

XVI. The Americans from Bret Harte to the 

Nineties 306 

XVII. Robert Louis Stevenson and the English 

Discovery of the New Short Story . 322 
XVIII. RuDYARD Kipling and the Contemporary 

Short Story 329 

XIX. Conclusions 347 

Bibliographical Notes 351 

Index 367 


I PROPOSE in the following pages to discuss the 
practice of the short story in English. 

The vagueness of the term " short story " is apparent. 
No less apparent is the existence, in every literature and 
period, of groups of narratives which we can call by no 
other name. The literatures of ancient Greece, of 
Buddhistic India, of medieval France and Arabia — for 
each of them readers will bring to mind a well-marked, 
well-recognized genre which to-day we should put under 
the short story classification. . The fable, the Milesian 
story, the birth-story of the Jatakas, the fabliau and 
conte—€3ch name suggests a type of literary expression 
employed for very definite purposes. As writers or readers 
named the sonnet, the ballade, the chanson, so they named 
these varieties of short narrative, and felt, with more or 
less reason, that in each case man was endeavoring to 
express his idea of life in a particular and chosen fashion* 

If we feel the vagueness of " short story," as used in 
a historical review of our narrative literature, it is not 
because there are no short stories which, in the age of 
their birth, were employed in literary work of a special 
nature. We would scarcely think the words vague if 
nothing definite were to be named by them! Nor is it 
because of the impossibility of marking o£E from long 
narrative the short narrative which is to be given a 
name. That difficulty is serious only for the rhetorician. 


The fault is rather in the loose meaning of the phrase, 
where " short " seems to qualify without defining. We 
can not escape this inconvenience except by creating a new 
terminology, a task far less profitable than the study of 
a considerable and much neglected literature. Indeed, 
Just what has constituted the " short story " in English ? is 
a question better answered at the end than at the begin- 
ning of such an investigation. 

Nevertheless, it is evident, without further discussion, 
that the writers, who, in many tongues and times, have used 
a short narrative to convey their ideas, are, in one respect, 
very often alike. No matter what their subject-matter 
may be, morality, indecency, high imagination, or human 
nature, they have wished to procure a certain effect which 
could best be gained by ia short story. They have wished 
to turn a moral, as in a fable, or to bring home, in a 
fabliau, an amusing reflection upon life, or to depict a 
situation, as in die typical short story of to-day, and in 
every case a brief narrative, with its one unified impression, 
best served them. It is the short narrative used for life- 
units, where only brevity and the consequent unified 
impression would serve, that becomes the short story. 
Is this definition sufficient? Only a study of a given 
literature will show. If it will work, as the pragmatists 
say, it is sufficient. But, in so working, it is neither 
requisite nor possible that hard and fast lines of division 
should result. Where to place many whitish-yellow and 
yellowish-white peoples is a problem for anthropologists. 
Yet we call the very black man negro without hesitation. 

Certain limitations, however, must be imposed at the 
outset Plots, circulating through every tongue, are often 
independent of strictly literary or cultural movements. 


Wc, however, must concern ourselves primarily with 
written literature. It is the history and development of 
an art which we follow, an art by means of which all 
manner of familiar experiences can be put into form and 
made marketable. Plots circulate in all ways. Their 
history is matter for folk-lore and psychology. It is the 
short story as it appears in recorded English literature, 
and the growth of its usefulness therein, which is the 
subject of this volume. 

The general form, the terminology, and the divisions 
of this discussion must be governed by the conditions of 
the period under treatment. But in the six centuries 
between the dawn of our native literature and the epoch 
of Chaucer, the plan of this book is subject to still further 
limitation. As with lyric poetry or romance, so, and to 
an even greater degree, the short stories of that time 
represent the adaptation of foreign models, with only an 
occasional outcrop of native originality. They are more 
often indices of borrowed cultures than worthy monu- 
ments of English literary power. The type, here par- 
ticularly, is more important than the individual story. 
If the division longitudinally by conte divot, reflective 
story, and lai, with which this study opens, brings with 
it some confusion of historical perspective, and an un- 
fortunate condensation, indulgence must be sought on 
the ground of necessity. The thousands of stories in- 
volved are very few of them valuable as literature. The 
typical fashions of story telling which they established 
are the groundwork of much which is invaluable. I have 
excluded from the survey of this earliest literature all 
but what is really significant in the growth and practice 
of our power over short narrative. 


of Pygmalion, by the Roman Ovid. Its spirit is far 
different from that of these Christian stories, but its 
substance is much the same. In both, man is brought 
in contact with supernatural beings; strange incidents r^ 
suit; are given the dress of literature, and the cloak of 
religion ; and so become more dignified than the adventures 
of the fairy stories. Throughout Greek and Roman lit- 
erature the literary myth is common, and, long after it 
ceased to be written with freshness and sympathy, it was 
preserved in chrestomathies and given to Christian 
Greeks and Christian Romans to study. It seems to be 
at least not improbable that such a' widespread custom of 
writing and reading stories about the myths of Greece 
should have influenced the composition of narratives based 
upon the supernatural elements of Christianity. But 
however far this presumption may be admitted, the evi- 
dence from sources shows, in any case, that the Greeks, 
who gave their own pagan myths a local habitation and 
a name, were the first to make literature, though certainly 
not such good literature, from the myths of the early 

Perhaps a typical example of the Greek stories is a 
tale of a hermit, which, incidentally, came into late West 
Saxon from the Fitae Patrum. Tempted to sin by a 
woman, whose companions seem to have made some kind 
of a wager on the result, this ascetic resists, feels himself 
yielding, thrusts his finger into the flame of a candle, 
and triumphantly drives out lust by the aid of keen 
physical pain. The most plentiful narratives in the 
voluminous religious literature of the early church have 
no such fictitious possibilities as this dramatic little story 
possesses. Simple wonder tales, they are told in endless 


monotony of Martin, or Swithhun, or of such naive holy 
men as are mentioned in the astonishing Dialogues of that 
father of miracles, Gregory the Great. This sixth cen- 
tury book of Gregory's is wholly the result of a crude 
imagination (for here even Gregory the Great was crude) 
at work upon Christian theology. It is an unworked 
mine for the folklorist and the student of a primitive 
psychology ; for us, in spite of its historical evidences and 
its utter sincerity, it must be chosen, like the Buddhist 
Jatakas, to exhibit the short story in the making. Holy 
men kill caterpillars by prayer, horses refuse to carry any 
one but the bishop who once rode them ; the plot thickens 
and wicked godfathers, who have sinned with their 
charges, are blasted in their very graves; in a score of 
cases, perhaps, the teller of the tale has made from his 
miracle a story worthy of remembrance, which, in fact, 
was remembered and repeated until miracle stories dropped 
from literature. These little narratives represent our 
story type, the conte divot, in an early stage and half- 
popular form, when literary influences were only just 
beginning to work upon it. They are characteristic of 
the saint's miracle as it was usually written in the West ; 
yet even with this Western variety the original influence 
seems to have been Greek. The writing of legends and 
the collecting of miracles began in the Greek East. Greg- 
ory himself asserts that he brought together the stories 
in his Dialogues lest the saints of the Eastern Church 
should gain undue eminence from the marvels recorded 
of them in the Vitae Patrum. 

The literature of the church came into England with 
Roman Christianity. But the earliest religious stories 
preserved in English date only from the time of King 


Alfred, and belong, almost exclusively, to the naive 
variety of the West in which the plot is still rudimentary. 
Among these, the two hundred-odd tales in Gregory's 
just recorded Dialogues are prominent, a mass of stoiy 
which was spread through England by excerption io 
sermons, by quotation in Bede's history, and by more 
direct means in the ninth century translation of Bishop 
Waerferth. Their literary value was almost nil; they 
did not include those Greek short stories of the Fitae 
Patrum type, whose plots were ripe for expansion, but 
a corpus of short narrative in English was thus provided 
which in no way was inconsiderable. To these foreign 
tales are to be added certain narratives of English or 
Irish holy men, all told with naive simplicity. The 
scholarly Bede was particularly hospitable to these home- 
made miracles, his Ecclesiastical History, written in the 
eighth, Englished in the ninth century of our era, con- 
taining many such stories. Most of them would be 
flattered by the name of conte, yet Bede gathered a few 
famous tales, lacking, to be sure, the fictitious atmosphere 
of the Greek narrative, but good plots nevertheless, and 
destined for a long life in the later middle ages. The 
story of Furseus (Book iii., ch. 19), who visited Hell 
and was burned by the flaming soul flung in his face, 
is characteristic of the best of its kind. 

Two dull, though highly creditable, works of the in- 
dustrious monk, ^Ifric, brought the most fictitious form 
of the conte divot into English. In his Sermones 
Catholici (between 990 and 995), next to The Blickling 
Homilies the earliest of native sermon-books, we need 
mention only the first of the afterwards famous miracles 
of Mary to appear in English, the Greek tale of Theo- 


philus who sold his soul. In the earliest English legend 
collection, his Passiones Sanctorum (996 or 997 )> and 
particularly in the translation of the Greek legend of 
Basil, there included, are many narratives which, even 
in their pious setting, reveal themselves as short stories. 
^Ifric was no hypocrite, nor are there signs of a novelist's 
pen in the hand of a monk. ' He merely translates the 
narratives. The best one of all he interrupts half way 
through to insert entirely irrelevant sermonizing. But 
amidst the great assemblage of honest, if uninteresting, 
miracles which he added to the multitude already Eng- 
lished, a few good Greek stories drift into our language, 
and are made permanent in what became the standard 
legend collection for the next two centuries. 

Latest of all, one finds, in the West Saxon of perhaps 
the first half of the eleventh century, two stories from 
. the Fitae Patrium, of which one, the tale of the hermit, 
has already been given in plot. The other is quite as 
good, and, though both are merely translations, they are 
the best examples in Old English of the well-developed 
short story. 

Thus the short story in English begins humbly, in- 
artistically, and without originality, for the invention 
(or the impiety) of the Anglo-Saxon never seemed tq 
get beyond the childish miracles he accredited to his 
English worthies; but with enough gpod plots to make 
the type familiar, and more than enough examples of 
short narrative to encourage the habit of recording the 
lesser incidents of life. So far there is no open con- 
nection with the secular, which, indeed, was barren of 
short stories in the Old English period. Alfred speaks 
for the Anglo-Saxon man of letters, when, in translating 


Boethius, he feels that he must apologize for some of 
the heathen m3rths there employed. " We use not these 
instances and these parables from a love of fables," he 
says ; ** Such were the false stories they made up ; they 
could easily have told true ones, and yet very like the 
others." A hateful spirit this is, and the abomination 
of priggishness in the eyes of Chaucer, or, let us add, 
the fourth century Greek. But it explains very thor- 
oughly why only the door of the church was open to 
the short story in the literature of Anglo-Saxon England. 

The twelfth century is the period most commonly 
set for the transition from Old to Middle English. 
Though true for language, this date does not mark the 
passing of the old school in the religious literature of 
England. The traditions of ^Ifric and Cynewulf died 
hard ; new ideas from abroad found their way but slowly 
into a vernacular used mainly by the illiterate. For the 
twelfth and early thirteenth centuries there is nothing 
new in the English conte divot. When a few religious 
stories drift into even that most original of early English 
treatises, the Ancren Rkule, they are told with unappre- 
ciative brevity, as ^Ifric would have written them. The 
middle of the thirteenth century marks the beginning 
of the new era in English religious narrative. 

It was in the latter part of the thirteenth century that 
French sources and French models brought novel fashions 
into English, and a vast narrative literature in the uni- 
versal language, Latin, began to be drawn upon for 
plots. It was not Latin, however, but the great literature 
of medieval France which was most influential in ripen- 
ing our English miracle story. The conte divot, indeed, 


though Greek in origin, became, in the course of its de- 
velopment, French in art. It was at best a pious " good 
story " until the upward movement of French poetry 
raised it into excellence. In the first half of the thirteenth 
century the Fita Patrum had been put into French 
verse, with many new stories annexed. In this same 
century and the one following came beautiful versions 
of old or new stories, such as UEmpereur Orgueilleux, 
Le Chevalier au Baril, and Le Mechant Senechal. In 
the first half of the thirteenth, again, the Latin collections 
of the miracles of Mary were given a French dress and 
a strong literary flavor. All these narratives differed 
widely from the little stories of the Old English. They 
were usually in verse, they were told with much care for 
the story, and, though naive, they were often beautiful, 
with that loving enrichment of detail of which the mere 
translator is incapable. With the wave of French in- 
fluence, this fashion of telling the miracle stories came 
into England. Often the tale which bears it was merely 
a translation into English from the French. Sometimes 
Latin is an intermediary, though more often that lan- 
guage is merely a storehouse for plots. Again, strong 
and evident signs of originality show that the impulse 
to tell a story well, and to make a miracle live in the 
imagination, was domesticated upon English soil. 

The true conte divot, then, came into active being 
in English only in the thirteenth century. Indeed, if 
divot was applicable before, conte was not. It is to be 
sought in di£Eerent forms and in different matrices among 
the various dialeqts, for the idios)mcrasies of the several 
districts determined the form of their religious narrative, 
the measure and effect of French influence. 


In the southern districts the legend flourished as never 
before or since in England. The most considerable wort 
in the thirteenth century South, the so-called South-Eng- 
lish Legendary, was a collection of saints' lives for the 
use of the church throughout the year. It is one of 
the most astonishing compilations in the language. A 
vast story-book, almost every form of narrative known 
to the middle ages, except the fable, is to be found there 
under a religious disguise, and science, geography, secular 
history, and politics are added for gpod measure. Horst- 
mann, its editor, thinks that it was mainly the work of 
one monastery, perhaps that of Gloucester. Certainly it 
was produced by no one man nor in one throw, for it 
comes down in a series of redactions, covering a period 
of composition from about 1280 to near 1350, each one 
fuller than the last, and all moving towards a complete 
Liber Festivalis which, if completed from all the versions, 
would have contained about one hundred and twenty 

The folk-lore, the history, the naive hmnor, the honest 
piety in this neglected collection are so fascinating that it 
is hard to pass over them, but we must stick to the 
contes divots embedded in the longer narratives, and 
of these select only the best in order to show the growth 
in narrative art of the religious short story. In all 
the better specimens, the writer is no longer content with 
the plot-digest which satisfied the Anglo-Saxon. He 
handles his material somewhat freely, and after the manner 
of the fabliau; he takes space enough, and when he has 
a good story to tell no longer packs it into the dimensions 
of an anecdote. French phrases and French names point 
the way of literary influence. Yet, of the scores of 


miracle stories, and the dozens of confes 'divots, only 
a handful of tales show that freedom of the pen which 
marks the beginnings of originality in narrative. Even 
then the freedom is not in plot — few medieval story 
tellers, and least of all a writer of legends, would- l/ave 
been proud of such originality — it is in phrasing, and 
in the realization of attending circumstances. A few 
lines from a gpod old story, appended to the English legend 
of St. James the Great, as it is appended to all versions 
of that legend, will mark, like the arrow in a registering 
thermometer, the highest point which art in this collection 
could reach. 

The author, having just recounted a marvelous miracle, 
is warming to his work. ''This Miracle is so Murie: 
ich mot yeot telle of mo," he says, and proceeds with 
the story of two pilgrims, father and son, who, at Tou- 
louse, on their pilgrimage are beguiled by a '' luthere " 
host, as Joseph's brethren were beguiled, and by him 
accused of the theft of a cup which is found in their 
scrip. Since one must hang for the alleged crime, they 
dispute as to who shall give his life for the other: 

"'A, fader, fader,' quath the sone: 'be stille, ich bidde the. 
For I nelle neuere thane day a-bide: that thou schulle 

hongue bi-fore me; 
Ake go thane wey for us bothe: and ichulle hangy for us 

And bide seint Jeme that he me graunti : sum part of thine 
weye.' " 

So the son hangs, " Welle louerd, the deol of the fader — : 
gretttore neuere non nas." The father makes his way 
to the Spanish shrine and thirty-six days later returns 
to make his moan over the corpse of the son, which 


by law must hang until it rots. Amazement! The toy 
is alive, speaks from the gallows, and assures his father 
that all these days St. James has made him " Joye i-noug^" 
The real villain is promptly hanged and everything ends J 

The ancient story is told far better here than in the 
corresponding legend of the contemporary and far more 
famous Latin collection, the Legenda Aurea. There is 
real narrative power in the dialogue, power which, by the 
ballad imitation in a poem earlier than all but one of our 
ballad manuscripts, is proven to be native with the Eng- 
lish writer. The tale is at least equal in merit to the 
earliest English fabliau. Dame Sirizy a poem but slightly 
antedating it. Yet this conte divot, and its less interesting 
companions in the great legendary, have one claim upon 
historical notice not to be granted to such contemporary 
narratives in secular literature. The numerous manu- 
scripts of the legendary in which they are preserved were 
so many stage copies for the use of priests; the church 
service, in which by this time the legend had a well- 
recognized part, gave them a circulation comparable to 
that of the printed book. In the geistliche literature of 
the thirteenth and early fourteenth century South the 
short story is still a slighted step-daughter, never grace- 
ful, seldom excellent, but it circulated, and circulated 

The Southern writers, after all, were intent upon the 
leg^d, and their contes divots were by-products. Such 
was not the case at this same period in the South-East 
Midland districts where London and the court made, we 
may suppose, foreign fashions more familiar. In this 
dialect are to be found not only the usual religious short 


Stories, here free from subserviency to longer narratives, 
but also, in a dozen miracles of Mary, the remnants of a 
special type, perhaps the most exquisite development of 
the conte divot. 

For about three centuries, in the finest years of the 
middle ages, the miracles of Mary mig^t be called a 
literary genre. Men wrote them, as they wrote lais and 
fabliaux. The individuality thus accorded was just, for 
usually they are more elaborate, more piquant, and far 
more beautiful than other miracles. They are filled with 
a chivalrous devotion to womanhood incarnate in the Vir- 
gin, and in proportion as their heroine was more lovable 
and more potent than the most august of saints, so was 
her miracle more novel, more entrancing than other 
legends or contes divots. The earliest Mary-story in 
English, and probably in any Western vernacular, is 
^Ifric's tenth century rendering of the tale of Theo- 
philus, but the worship of the Virgin did not reach its 
full ardency until the twelfth century, and it is there that 
most of the great Latin collections of her marvels belong, 
while the French versifyings of the same stories date from 
the end of that century or the first part of the thirteenth. 
Our East Midland tales, sprung from the same stock, are 
perhaps a half century later still. 

A Mary-story is properly a literary myth ; a collection 
of them a mythology gathering about one great name. 
Such a collection was copied from earlier sources into the 
great Vernon manuscript, but later purists expurgated the 
volume by tearing out all but nine of the original forty- 
two stories. Fortunately they have left a few, which in 
everything but length are the equal of the best in French. 
Probably every plot is borrowed, and yet as the native 


sculptor entwined his meadow flower with the acanthus of 
the conventional capital, so has the teller of these English 
tales left the mark of his own quaint and lovely fancy. A 
harlot entreats a holy man to sin. He answers: 

"I preye the, damesele, that thow knele; 
With herte and good devocioun 
Of my synnes get me pardoun ; 
Mekely knelyng on thi kne 
Threo Pater Noster preye to god for me. 
And to his swete Moder Man 
Threo Aves thereto, for my Merci." 

Again, the poet tells of a time when there lived a servant 
of Our Lady so ardent in his devotion that in time of 
sickness she fed him (there is no grotesqueness for the 
writer) from her own breasts: 

"That t)rmc riht as men doth floures 
Men gederede furst Matines and Ures 
That men usen now of ure ladr. 
And seiden hem devoutly." 

In a story unattached to this Vernon collection a 
clerk desires to see the body of Our Lady, though told 
that the eyes which look upon her beauty must go blind. 
He closes one eye craftily. "With angel song & miri 
play," Our Lady comes and is beheld. But great is his 
remorse. He has been guileful, his soul is imperiled : 

" Lene me grace, another sithe 
To se thi bodi withouten striuel 
Bi so, ichil be blithe 
To be blinde in al mi Hue."- 

His prayer is granted. Again the fair vision of his Lady. 
This time, though she warns him that blindness means 
poverty, he gazes with both eyes. Yet on the morrow, 



When it was day, ful wele be seighe 
This warldes pride al him biforn/' 

In these Mary-stories the conte divot is at its best for 
the century. Nor have the finest of the lais and the 
fabliaux contemporary in the secular any real superiority 
except in the polish and the ease which belongs to a few 
of them only. There were other independent contes 
divots in this South-East Midland dialect also, and 
romance-legends, like the stirring Gregory in the Rock, 
which are important in a history of fiction. Fiction, in- 
deed, is to the fore in the religious literature of the dialect 
of London, and it is noteworthy for the short story that 
there, as in France before, the conte divot breaks away 
from the legend, in which it had usually been inclosed, to 
be given an importance of its own. 

In the same century, to the north, in the districts of the 
North Midlands^ comes one more notable landmark of 
the religious short story, this time in the guise of a hand- 
book of religion aiid of morals. Unlike most productions 
of the period, Handlyng Synne is not anonymous. It 
was written by a man surcharged with personality, one 
Roberd, a monk of Brunne, now Bourn, a little place in 
Lincolndiirc. In " A thousynd & thrc hundred and thre," 
as he says himself, Roberd turned into English an Anglo- 
Norman work, the Manuel des Pechiez, a religious treatise 
written somewhat earlier and by another Englishman, 
called William of Wadington, who is otherwise unknown. 
Handbooks of godliness and ungodliness are common 
enough in the middle ages. If this French-English 
manual is to be distinguished, it is only because of a 
homely directness in the moralizing, and for its stories. 


Contes divots, slighter miracles most of all, then apo- 
logues, folk-tales, pure fabliaux, are used indiscriminately 
in Handlyng Synne to drive home the doctrine, and they 
are no longer mere exempla, but real tales of from fifty to 
two hundred and fifty lines in length. The result is sheer 
story-book, with a heavy ballast of honest sermon. 

But Roberd was no slave to his text. In the Mary- 
stories of the Vernon manuscript one feels sure that 
originality has come into native religious narrative; by 
means of these two manuals of sins we can compare the 
work of two Englishmen, one writing in his own tongue, 
the other in French, with the French tradition, and, by a 
simple experiment, discover just what this Middle Eng- 
lish originality was. Roberd, it appears, cut out much 
doctrinal metaphysics, and added an abundance of quaint 
illustration from the life about him, but, since his own 
temperament seems to have been responsible, this is not 
the matter for which to challenge him. He added stories 
too, and some of the best in the book; he left out others 
which were too racy (or because they were not in his 
manuscript), and when he had sources of his own did not 
hesitate to alter and expand still other ones. But his 
prime importance in the development of fiction is due to 
his fashion of story telling. Roberd, like Chaucer, had no 
regard for brevity per se. Speed is nothing to him. He 
falls a lap behind his French source because his rough 
language needs more room to express the burden of 
thought than the crude but concise Anglo-Norman. Yet 
it is not only a diffuse English which is responsible for 
this. Roberd will be brief for no one; his gentler pace ia 
due, in part, however, to a greater appreciation of the 
needs of his story. All the facts of the case appeal to 


him more strongly than celerity and proportion. The 
they do and they say of William's French do not satisfy. 
He brings a little personality into the narrative; he tries 
for a little color, a little life and vividness, and often 
succeeds. I set side by side the texts from the French and 
the English of one of the stories, in which the difference 
is pronounced, and typical of all the narratives. This is a 
tale, well known to those who read such books, told of a 
gienerous knight who forgave his enemy, and earned such 
praise from heaven that the figure upon the crucifix at 
church bent down and kissed him. William makes little 
comment upon the effect of the miracle, being quite con- 
tent to tell of it : 

''Les parochiens qe ceo uirent, 
Mult durement s'enioirent; 
A haute voiz Deu loercnt." 

But Roberd will not let a strong miracle go so easily. 
He wonders how the knight must have felt, is impressed 
with the effect upon the congregation, and makes of the 
three lines of French what follows: 


AUe the parshe, bothe olde and yonge, 

Parscyued, and say, that clyppynge, 

And how the crucyfyx hym kyste; 

They sagh hyt alle, and weyl h)rt wyste. 

Alle they thanked swete Jhesu 

Of that myr4cle and that vertu. 

Of thys chylde was grete selkouthe 

That the crycyfyx kyst wyth mouthe. 

Notheles, forsothe and ywys, 

Y trowe that yn hys herte were moche blys ; 

And al the folke that sagh thys thyng 

Made to God grete thankyng." 

(U. 3880-3891.) 


All this, if generalization may be permitted, is very 
English, very prophetic of the fashion of telling a story 
most popular in English since. The clumsy narrative of 
Roberd betrays rough laborings towards an ideal, which is 
not the form successfully achieved by the Latin races, but 
what may fairly be called the spirit of the story. It is an 
ideal which in later centuries governed the story-telling 
of Chaucer, of the Elizabethans, of Poe, Stevenson, and 
Kipling. If this conclusion seems too weighty for a 
simple, monkish work, unliterary, unskilful, badly-written 
— ^witness the pathetic futility of, " Notheless, forsothe and 
ywys " — ^let the sequel bear it out. 

The religious narratives in Handlyng Synne are less 
excellent than the Mary-stories of the Vernon manu- 
script. Beauty and art alike were beyond the reach of 
this pious brother of Brunne. Yet the most useful ex- 
periments are not always with the precious metals, and 
here, a fortunate preservation of a French source, and of 
its reworking by a thoroughly English mind, unsophisti- 
cated by the study of literary models, gives an invaluable 
opportunity to see just what the insular genius would try 
to do with a continental type of the short story. 

The contes divots remaining and worthy of considera- 
tion in this century before Chaucer were in the Northern 
dialect and associated with the sermons of which the North 
was prolific. The voluminous Cursor Mundi belongs in 
that district, and the Pricke of Conscience by Richard 
RoUe, the one too dull, the other too serious for a satis- 
factory exhibition of the taste for religious narrative with 
a smack of the fictitious and the form of the short story. 
But the Northern Homilies, which are joined to the rela- 
tively uninteresting Northern Legendary, and date prob- 


ably from a little after 1300, are full of good tales. In 
these sermons an old custom of including little exemplary 
narratives has been carried to a logical result. The story, 
in every discourse, has crystallized out of the solution, and) 
as a " narracio/' caps, by way of emphatic conclusion, 
its harangue. The majority are merely analogues to 
widely current stories. Still, the collection, as a whole, 
presents a greater variety of plots than is to be found in 
any other group of religious stories from fourteenth cen- 
tury English. There is a greater felicity of narrative, 
an easier flow, and a more harmonious diction in these 
tales than elsewhere in religious literature of the times. 
The four-stress verse is reasonably correct, and seldom 
gives forth the horrid pantings which sometimes break 
from Roberd's cramped line. And yet, at best, the style 
is monotonous, the characterization as feeble as in the 
lesser romances; the author never tries to make the story 
real, and scarcely uses that imagination which the Lord 
and not the Latin or French original gave him. Indeed, 
these stories of The Northern Homilies, and particularly 
the contes divots therein contained, are more noteworthy 
for the emphasis accorded them, and for their variety, 
than for any English novelty in their composition. They 
hold the place of honor in each sermon, and such profane, 
yet pious, tales as the abbess miraculously delivered, and 
the dreamer at mass in heaven, who sturdily held on to 
her candle until she waked, show, by their presence, that 
the French idea of a conte divot — a thoroughly gpod short 
story compoimded from the teachings of the church — ^was 
domesticated in English. 

In the South in the legend, in the North in the sermon, 
in the Midland in the religious treatise, and in the South- 


East free of all matrix, this French type of conte divot, 
by the mid-fourteenth century, was very well under- 
stood in English. Its best examples blend the plot interest 
of the old Greek story, sometimes using a Greek plot, 
sometimes a medieval one, with the intense sincerity of the 
Western miracle. And if their excellence according to 
the standards of fiction was limited by an opinion, which 
we must suppose general, that they were history, yet this 
limit was sometimes strained, while any deficiency in 
imagination was more than made up for by the loving 
earnestness of the teller. As it happened, the conte divot 
succeeded as fiction in spite of its limitations. It compares 
favorably with all but the best of secular narrative in this 
century, and makes up a rich portion in a period when 
English writing of any quality is not plentiful. We 
could view it as a literary myth, and value the beauty of 
its conception, and the intensity of the faith of its author, 
rather than the artistic presentation of the story. But 
such criticism would seek only the idea, which, in so inter- 
national a literature as that of the church, was seldom 
English, and might disregard the free borrowing, and the 
rude shapings that mark the work of the English mind 
upon this, as upon all, foreign types. Indeed, it is chiefly 
to be noted by way of a summary that a new kind of short- 
story plot came into Old English, a fashion of making a 
good short narrative out of it into Middle English, and 
that in the fifty years before the birth of Chaucer there 
are various signs of an attempt to cut loose from mere 
translation, and to tell such tales in the way that best 
might please the native writer. 



NARRATIVE has served in the cause of Instruction 
at least as long as the art of teaching by example 
has been known to humanity, and that takes us back to 
an antiquity only exceeded by the age of the popular story. 
Indeed, the impulse to use stories for didactic purposes has 
been so marked and the process so successful, that re- 
flective, story-telling races have developed and constantly 
employed definite kinds of narrative, molded and told 
expressly for the conve3rance of a lesson in concrete form. 
The fable is one such story; the apologue another, dif- 
fering from the fable in so far as it is told of men instead 
of beasts, but not at all in its narrative qualities, which are 
contrived so as to suggest a truth of human nature by 
means of a characteristic happening conveyed in a memor- 
able plot. But no one of the intellectual movements 
which, from time to time, enlisted narrative in their serv- 
ice, was content to use only the rare and excellent reflective 
tales, whose cogent plot of itself pointed the moral. Many 
literatures, and particularly the two great ethical religions, 
Buddhism and Christianity, pressed into service every 
kind of story which might serve, under compulsion, to 
drive home a lesson, and not only obviously reflective 
stories but also fairy tales, conies devots, fabliaux, novel- 
las, even bits of romance and of history were made to do 





duty as a rou^ variety of apologue. When used in the 
priest's sermon these stories were called exempla by the 
Catholic Church, whose literature, as already explained, is 
the earliest source for English short stories, and as exempla 
the greater proportion of didactic stories in medieval 
English appear. 


The innumerable stories called exempla constitute a 
story class which, as the most inclusive, is the best with 
which to take a new start in the survey of the literature 
before Chaucer. Indeed, this group is not a story type 
at all, since any variety of tale, when used for illustrative 
purposes, became an exemplum. It was a method of nar- 
rative, but a method that had its influence upon fiction. 
Included in a sermon, made to do work, a vague, rambling 
story would be reduced to its essentials, would often be 
compressed to a bare statement of plot, but its unity was 
improved, and if the compilers squeezed out the juice, 
the preacher could always put it back again. It is the 
custom that needs to be emphasized, for the stories, as 
might be expected from their humble employment, are 
usually quite unliterary, and entirely free from any ex- 
cellence except the occasional virtue of plot. Or if, when 
told, perhaps, by some writer whose pen itched for the 
picturesque rather than the didactic, they do transcend 
these limits, they are better regarded as conte devote 
apologue, or whatever their intrinsic nature may suggest. 
It is the practice that is interesting, for it left its mark 
upon medieval literature ever)rwhere in Europe, and en- 
during evidence in Gower's Confessio Amantis, and even 
The Canterbury Tales themselves. 


The earliest collection of exempla known is the often- 
mentioned Jatakas, that Indian book of about the fourth 
century B.C., in which the Bodhisat preached right living 
by means of every kind of story, all professedly his own 
experiences in some previous incarnation. The Greeks, 
from an even earlier period, use exemplary narratives, and 
by no means only fables and apologues. But the equiva- 
lent practice of the Christian writers of the middle ages 
was directly due to neither of these models, from which, 
indeed, the ruin of classic civilization separated them. It 
is possible that the parables of Christ suggested their 
methods; more probably the use of all varieties of stories 
to spice a discourse, was simply a natural development 
from a successful expedient. If this is true, then the 
gospels supplied not so much a model as a justification 
for what was dangerously approaching a vice. 

To Jacques de Vitry, French bishop of the twelfth cen- 
tury, and author of an interesting collection of Latin 
exempla, is commonly given the credit for first recognizing 
the homiletic value of well-assorted stories. To him, or 
to the slightly earlier Englishman, Odo of Cheriton, 
belongs the chief honor, or dishonor, of first popularizing 
excursions into profane literature in search of good stories. 
But in English, at least, the occasional use of short stories 
as examples is much earlier. The engaging miracles 
which Pope Gregory told to his friend Peter in the course 
of their dialogues are scarcely exempla, since the dis- 
course is merely a commentary on the marvels thus re- 
counted. But in the tenth century Sermones Catholici of 
iElfric, already referred to as a repository of Greek conies 
divots, are many narratives called " edifying " which are 
frankly included to drive home the moral of his text, 


among them that best known of all miracles of Mary, the 
tale of Theophiliis who sold his " handgewrit " to the 
devil. Again, in a later sermon, the Sermo In Natale 
Unius Confessoris, ^Ifric concludes a string of exemplary 
narratives with the words, " We might give many of these 
examples (bysena) if it were not too tedious in this little 
discourse," a remark which shows that, even if he used 
no tales from the secular, he very well understood the 
advantages of the exemplary method. 

But the step which makes the humble exemplum really 
important in the history of fiction was taken by those 
bolder men, the writers for the church, who brought into 
ecclesiastical literature a host of secular stories polished 
by many generations of pleasant telling. The Latin litera- 
ture of the twelfth and the thirteenth century in England 
is full of such tales. The reader will find some in the 
Parabola of Odo of Cheriton, more in his Fabula, and 
still more in that selection from medieval Latin manu- 
scripts printed by Thomas Wright for the Percy So- 
ciety. In English, the earliest secular story I have found 
in church writings is a little fable interpolated in the 
text of one of the twelfth century sermons of Ms. Lam- 
beth 487. But in the early fourteenth century the bars 
were let down, at least part way. The Kentish handbook 
of morality. The Ayenbite of Inwyty has both fable and 
fabliau; Handlyng Synne, fabliau and apologue; the 
Northern Homilies, the same; and all in addition to the 
usual charge of conies divots and miracles. The Latin 
collections of exempla, which so abound among our earlier 
manuscripts, were the storehouses of plots, both religious 
and profane; these English books put them to work, and 
if their writers prefer the tale with a flavor of sanctity 


about it, they did not exclude the gpod story drawn from 
the world outside the monastery. 

An exemplum, taken from its setting, becomes a plain 
story. But the reader who neglects its office as exemplunij 
or the existence of these comprehensive collections of 
stories appended, or ready to be appended, to dogma, 
ethics, criticism, or exhortation will fail to understand 
many peculiarities of the secular short narrative of the 
middle ages. It was the need of brief exempla which put 
a premium upon narratives which were best in the short- 
story form; it was the well-known habit of the sermon 
or discourse with its concluding exemplum, which gave 
Chaucer the model for the pleasant strayings in criticism, 
satire, and instruction preceding almost every one of his 
Canterbury tales; and it was the exemplum collection, 
with its frame of discourse, almost as much as the Eastern 
tale collections with their frame of plot, which set the 
fashion of grouping short stories within a larger unity, a 
fashion so prevalent in the middle ages, the renaissance, 
and to-day. 


The rarer apologue accomplishes of itself what the 
ordinary exemplum is made to accomplish by an apt cor- 
respondence between its story and the discourse which 
precedes it. The Oriental who first told the tale of the 
killing of the goose that laid the golden egg had no need 
to enlarge upon his moral. It was self-evident, while so 
much can not be said for the point of the other story types 
which serve as exempla, and can be made to illustrate 
almost anything. The true apologue, and its twin the 
fable, are pearb among gon stones, easily distinguished 


because they resemble no others. The name itself con- 
notes antiquity, and rightly, for the best are very old, 
and have come down with the unchanging qualities of 
human nature upon which they reflect. Nevertheless, they 
belong to settled civilizations, where the habit of reflection 
is strong and the desire to teach vigorous. Savage and 
primitive literatures seldom possess them. Strewn through 
the Greek fable-collections, they are also abundant in the 
oldest Sanskrit literature of the East. They have been 
called Oriental in origin, but it would be more nearly 
correct to say that India seems to have first started the 
greatest number of memorable examples on their course 
down the ages. 

To Anglo-Saxon literature the excellent, age-polished 
apologue was yet a stranger, whether too rare, or too secu- 
lar, or too trivial for inclusion is not to be decided. But 
the desire to tell stories which contain, as it were, their 
moral, was not lacking, and, beside the conventional 
miracles and contes divots used as exempla, it is gratify- 
ing to distinguish at least one attempt to drive home the 
lesson by narrative which needs no moral. I quote, in free 
translation, from the tenth sermon of the otherwise un- 
distinguished B lick ling Homilies (971 A.D.) : 

"There died a rich man, and his kinsman, who loved 
him more than any other man, for longing and sorrow de- 
parted into a foreign land. There he dwelt many years 
and never did the longing depart from him. Then he 
began to desire to see again his native land and the grave 
of his friend, whom he had seen beautiful of face and 
stature. But the bones called out to him from the grave — 
* Why comest thou here to see us. Here thou beholdest 
but a portion of mold and what the worms have left, 


where before thou sawest fine garments with gold inter- 
woven.' . . . Sad and sorrowful he departed from the 
apparition of the dust ( dustsceawinga) and turned himself 
away from the affairs of the world." 

Pass on from here (for our examples are not plenti- 
ful) to religious work differing more in language than in 
spirit from the Old English. The Ancren Riwle, or 
Rule for Nuns, was written by an anonymous author, in 
the early part of the thirteenth century, for the guidance 
of certain sisters of gentle birth dwelling at Tarente in 
Southern Dorsetshire. It is the earliest English specimen 
of those manuals of right living compiled so frequently in 
the next two centuries; no original has been found for it 
(rare distinction for an English work of this period), and 
its homely flavor smacks of native production. Illustra- 
tive narrative was a valuable aid in such ethical discussions, 
but the author, like most English churchmen, seems to 
have distrusted the profane story as '* sounying unto 
synne." A few contes divots occupy a dozen lines apiece 
on various pages; nevertheless, the writer draws his illus- 
trations mainly from his own observation of life, and thus 
begins the apologue at its source. His device is as in- 
genious as it is interesting. To begin with, he presents 
his charges with "characters" of the vices they are to 
avoid. The " character-book," from which the novelists 
learned so much, did not come into English until five 
centuries later, yet, with singular pungency, this early 
writer puts a likeness of life upon the flatterer, the 
covetous, the greedy, and the backbiter, all favorites in the 
seventeenth century. I select the sketch of the last, drawn 
so that the sisters might recognize an occasional resem- 
blance and repent: 

— --f" 

me nothing, to affect an amendment 1 
since I knew of it, but yet it should nei 
posed of me; but now it is so widely pu 
that I can not gainsay it. Evil they cal 
worse. Grieved and sorry I am that I 
indeed it is so ; and that is much sorrow, 
things he, or she, is truly to be commen 
this, and grieved I am for it. No man ca 

This is as convincing as a Holbein por 
with as few lines. It is not narrative, b 
study for story telling which is to con 
should be compared with the Eastern apol< 
product which has, nevertheless, fewer pc 
way of fiction. 

Further on in this same book are m< 
each an excellent little narrative of a hype 
in another place a most realistic example 
interview which a nun should avoid. Th 
if indeed it was Bishop Richard Poore 
Ancren Riwle, knew as much of love-a 


his discourses into stories, but, as they stand, they drive 
home the moral of his earnest counsel, and so do the work 
of the apologue. 

It was at the end of this same thirteenth century that, as 
has been stated in earlier paragraphs, a wide range of 
stories, of which some were secular, began to be employed 
for illustrative purposes in English. At this period, col- 
lections in Latin or French of story-nuggets, comprising 
variegated narrative material, were much more abundant 
and accessible than in earlier times, and in them a more 
highly developed form of apologue is to be found. The 
compilers of the great handbooks of morality and of the 
sermon-books, Dan Michel of Kent, author of The Ayeu" 
bite of Inwyt, Robert of Brunne, and the anonymous 
author of The Northern Homilies, bring in a well- 
plotted apologue from profane literature when the more 
primitive teachers would have used a miracle. It is 
Robert who retells the French ^Lpolo^t- fabliau of La 
Housse Partie — ^how a son reserved for the age of his 
own father one-half the sack which was to serve as a cloak 
for his feeble grandfather. And the compiler of the 
volimiinous Cursor Mundi found somewhere, and uses, 
the since famous narrative of the pound of flesh. Or, 
again, these writers borrow plots which, thou^ ecclesi- 
astical in nature, have the keen reflection and shrewd 
realism of the apologue; for example, a story of The 
Northern Homilies where the harlot Thais is tau^t that 
God sees all. Nor is it only in religious writings that 
little stories of the reflective kind begin to be sprinkled. 
They are contained in the Ysopet of Marie of France, 
whose immediate source was an English work; and in the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries such quasi-secular com- 


pilations as the manuscripts of Wright's Latin Stories and 
the Contes Moralises of Nicole de Bozon have others 
with English '' tag3 " which seem to show an English 
source. History preserves the best known of all, for the 
story of Canute and the sea waves, which Robert of 
Gloucester first Englished, has kept its freshness by vir- 
tue of its surpassing reflection upon the folly of courtiers 
and the impotence of man. 

But the most important influx of apologues now came, 
in a special manner, out of that East whence many of 
the reflective stories already domiciled had been ulti- 
mately derived. They came in collections of Extern 
tales set in story-frames and moving westward, like car- 
avans, in the height of the European middle ages. The 
most famous of them, the so-called Seven Sages, reached 
English probably in the late thirteenth century, and 
was spread into many versions. Its short narratives, 
ranged on either side of an argument as to the merits 
or demerits of women, are principally reflective stories 
which urge to be told for their plot as much as for 
their moral. Writers, to choose one example, have re- 
told the tale called canis, the story of the dog who pro- 
tected the child against an adder and was slain by the 
father, quite as often for its story as for its reflection 
upon hasty judgment. Another collection, the Discip- 
Una Clericalis, seems not to have been Englished as a 
whole until the fifteenth century, while the fables of 
Bidpai waited until Elizabethan times. A fourth was 
the strangely metamorphosed life of Buddha, which, with 
its Jataka stories, was turned into a saint's legend in 
the Greek East, called Barlaam and Josaphat, and trans- 
lated through Christian vernaculars. This strange com- 


pound attained a popularity only to be measured by the 
abundant versions of its stories, or by the canonization 
of Josaphat, otherwise Buddha, by the Roman Church. 
It entered English poetry at the beginning of the four- 
teenth century, and even in the remnant of literature 
preserved and printed from that century there are North- 
em and South- West Midland translations, and one story 
in The Northern Homilies. No wonder, for there are 
no better reflective plots than these Eastern ones. Here, 
in this work, is the tale of the three caskets, and here 
that preacher's favorite, the story of the king accused 
of too much meekness, whose trumpeters blowing thrice, 
the sign of death, before his brother's gates, made clear 
that humility in the face of eternal judgment was more 
reasonable than fear of earthly condemnation — both per- 
fect apologues, more pointed, more memorable, more 
efficient than any known in English before the arrival 
of the Oriental stock. It is not surprising that, in the 
centuries following, such tales as these and the many 
others in the same collections, lived on, and were called 
upon to do illustrative work, when the majority of all 
that host of short narratives, miraculous, quasi-mirac- 
ulous, historical, quasi-historical, which had once been 
exempla, had passed from circulation and from memory. 
There is no pure apologue in English whose literary and 
artistic worth is equal to that of the best of the Mary- 
stories. But, on the other hand, there is probably no 
conte divot whose plot is now familiar to any but the 
special reader, while every collection of medieval apo- 
logues of this Eastern variety contains at least one story 
that a college freshman already knows. 



The least and the greatest among didactic reflective 
stories are the fables, narrative tid-bits whose usefulness 
within their narrow range is so great that the best were 
invented long agp, and have come downward on well- 
marked paths from the antiquity of Greece and India. 
A fable seems to be a product of the reflective spirit 
working upon the beast-tales common to all savages. 
It differs from an apologue only in this, that, by a shrewd 
device, animals take the parts otherwise assigned to men, 
and so the humor and the force of the moral are increased, 
its sting diminished. The fable is the argument a for- 
tiori among exemplary stories. Probably because of its 
limited range, the paucity of really excellent plots, and 
the repetition of the good ones with little change from 
tongue to tongue and age to age, this form of the short 
story has received an enormous, perhaps an undue share 
of scholarly attention. So minute have been the in- 
vestigations that it is difficult to make a general survey 
of its occurrence, even in a period comparatively un- 
worked like this one, without apparent disregard of much 
information laboriously gathered, and a forced neglect 
of certain problems where more light may still be thrown. 
But the best of the early English fables are very poor 
literature, and they deserve only so much space as may 
make clear their part in the general development of the 
English short story. 

The survivors of the fables accumulated by antiquity. 
Oriental and Mediterranean, came westward and down 
the middle ages chiefly by three highways. One was 
through the many versions of the so-called Romulus, a 


prose rendering in Latin of the verse fables written in 
the first century, and also in Latin, by Phaedrus. An- 
other was by means of Avian, who put into Latin prose 
the third century fables of the Greek, Babrios. Both 
Babrios and Phaedrus professed to draw from the legend- 
ary JEsopt and both, for many of their fables, had a 
common ultimate source. Romulus was current in west- 
em Europe probably as early as the ninth century, Avian 
at least by the tenth. A third transmitting medium were 
the Eastern story collections which, in general, reached 
the West somewhat later. Furthermore, to the corpus 
of old fables thus acquired by the middle ages were 
added a few more of contemporary birth. But in Eng- 
land before the Conquest no fable manuscripts are 
recorded, nor has any fable of any kind slipped into Old 
English literature. 

The dearth of fables in Anglo-Saxon England is no 
more remarkable than their abundance in Norman Eng- 
land. By the eleventh century, Romulus seems to have 
been put into English, to become with other stories a 
source for Marie of France. Hervieux notes an eleventh 
century manuscript of Avian, and, as it contains lives 
of English saints, it may be supposed to have been written 
b England. By the twelfth century, England had be- 
come the center of fable writing. In Latin, Walter of 
England, and Odo of Cheriton, compiled widely circu- 
lated collections, the latter adding new fables to the 
classic stock. In Anglo-Norman, Marie of France wrote 
her Ysopet, the most literary of contemporary collections. 
From this time on, fables are current through all the 
Latin storehouses of exempla, and find many compilers 
who issue new versions of the old stock, and ascribe 


them, as usual, to the very convenient /Esopt who was 
godfather to the majority of medieval animal stories. 

Information regarding the nature and the extent of 
these Latin fable collections is easily accessible. Not so 
readily procured is an answer to the question. Did the 
English of the centuries immediately succeeding the Q)n- 
quest cultivate the fable to any considerable extent in\ 
their own tongue? Evidence at first seems to answer, 
no. Through all the stretch of English literature down 
to Chaucer there appear to be only six surviving, and 
this in centuries when Latin and French collections made 
on English soil abound. Such a paucity is not surprising 
when one remembers that most of the didactic literature,^ 
where the fable would be most at home, belonged to 
the church, and was naturally antagonistic to stories 
which were not only profane but, unlike the wildest 
conie divot, coulc} never be supposed to be true. Yet 
common-sense insists that if the priests and scholars 
knew the fables, the commonalty knew them too, and, 
fortunately, there is fresh evidence that this was the case — 
evidence that is more important than at first appears, 
for whenever we can prove literary composition, however 
humble, in English, in those barren centuries of French 
ascendancy, we add something to the literary history of 
the race. Therefore, I leave the pitiful remnant, the 
six surviving fables, in order to examine the grounds for 
believing that there was a stout body of English short 
stories of this kind, whose luck was not so good. 

' Briefly then. The best fables written in England 
before the Scotch Henryson tried his hand were those 
of the Anglo-Frenchwoman, Marie of France. She says 
that she took her stories from an English translation 


made by " Alvrcz le roi " from a Latin original. The 
argument that this Alvrez was not Kling Alfred but 
some eleventh or twelfth century Englishman is con- 
clusive, and the evidence from language that Marie was 
truthful in asserting her English source is equally con- 
vincing. Furthermore, there are certain relations be- 
tween some of her fables and English stories, or stories 
suspected of having once been English, which make the 
proof still sur^. Accepting it, we are in possession of 
a considerable body of fable plots, and of fabliau plots, 
for Marie's stories are by no means all fables, which 
were once English. I say plots — for the literary grace 
of her telling, it is fair to assume, is her own. 

The Kentish Odo of Cheriton supplies the next evi- 
dence, slight but interesting. His variegated collection 
of Fabula, compiled between 1198 and 1209, contains 
several fables which never figured in the classic ^sopian 
stock. Two such fables and one apologue conclude their 
Latin with an English phrase, a tag, which, in at least 
one case, is meaningless except as a part of the story 
itself. This particular fable has acquired as much anno- 
tation as a doubtful Shakespearian passage. It runs as 
follows: A buzzard hatched out in the nest of a hawk 
fouls the nest. Whereupon the hawk drops him out, 
saying (this is the English tag), "Of (eie) hi the 
brothte of athele hi ne mythte." (From the egg I brought 
thee, to nobleness I could not). Now this fable, in 
slightly differing forms, appears in Marie's earlier Ysopet, 
in the somewhat later Owl and the Nightingale, and in 
the fourteenth century Contes Moralises of Nicole de 
Bozon. The second version is in English, the others 
are clearly related to some rendering in that vernacular. 


Pass now onward for a century to Les Contes Morali- 
ses, an assemblage of exempla written with much simphc- 
ity and some charm by one Nicole de Bozon, in corrupt 
Anglo-French of about 1320. A good deal of printer's 
ink has been spent upon this book, but, as only the 
question of English origins interests us here, we may 
assume, with various commentators, that the before-ment 
tioned works of Marie and of Odo were the inmiediato 
sources for some of the fables. However, six fables, an^ 
certain other stories and passages of the work, contain 
English phrases, sometimes bits of English verse. If 
one studies two of these more nearly, new evidence 
appears of a lost body of English fables. One is tk»^ 
story of the fouled nest, with an owl now as villain^; 
'*Vcar!" says the gpshawk, when he finds his nest 
dirtied by the charity boarder, " veirs est dist en engleis^ 
Stroke oule and schrape oule and evere is oule oule." 
Now, Meyer, and Harry, a later commentator, bring 
forward evidence to prove that Bozon knew this fabl^ 
in both Odo and Marie, but they neglect a resemblance' 
quite as close (no two versions are just the same) between 
Nicole'sjtorjr and an English telling of it which appears 
in tEelc^rly thirteenth century poem. The Owl and the 
liightingale.^'fQvSr'y^tn ot^'XjmAAtTs a little proverb 
in English tacked on by Bozon to his fable, " Trendle 
the appel ncvere so fer he conyes from what tree he cam," 
and notes in a like place in our Owl and the Nightingale, 

"Thegh appel trendli fron then trowe, 
Thar he & other mid growe, 
Thegh he bo thar-from bi-cume, 

■ He cuth wel whonene he is i-cume." 


the conclusion is borne in that, whatever Nicole may 
have known of French and Latin fables, he was familiar 
also with some English story phrased very much like 
this l^t. Probably such a hypothetical story was drt^y 
ariotfier rendering of the narrative upon which Marie 
drew, for, at the end of her nest story, comes a proverb 
of an apple to the same effect, but without the personi- 
fication of the apple, which, with the use of the word 
"trendle," seems to point a connection between Bozon 
and the English. 

But The Owl and the Nightingale was written not 

far from 1222^ ^^^^^ Bozon composed only about 

1320. Was Tic copying from some transcript handed 

down from an earlier century, as he seems to have done 

with Marie's Ysopet, or were such English fahlfs stilL 

current anj[ alivr in tht ^'^y^gr? The l^s arrhnir 

orm of his English^ would_scciB-to sbiMr the lalier 

even more so certai n_ evidence d rawn from another story 

of his^ HiTtells the good old tale of^ell^e-car,' he re 

of one " Sire Badde," and of rats who cry in English, 

"Clyml Clam! cat lep over dam!" Odo, too, told 

the story, but minus this engaging English. Bozon 

occasionally drops into rime, and in one such passage 

Sir Bad figures again, " E Badde s'en ala com avant, 

e destruit petit e graunt." But " bad," according to 

The New English Dictionary, appears in the language 

only at the end of the thirteenth century and is rare 

until the end of the fourteenth. This seems to fix the 

English at about Nicole's own time. If this is true, we 

have a double line of proof. Nicole here, as elsewhere, 

was using a fable which had been part of an English 

fttock long before his period. Yet the version he borrows 


for his French story must have been composed in his 
own day. Two inferences are possible. Either Bozon 
wrote in English with more originality than he shows 
elsewhere in French, or this fable, at least, had been 
alive in English literature through these two dumb 
centuries. In either case there is evidence of vigorous 
composition in the native tongue. 

If space permitted, we might add evidence from English 
tags in Wright's selection of Latin stories found in this 
same period, a little more from the Gesta Romanorum, 
and more still from other stories in Bozon's conies. Nor 
must we forget the six fables remaining entire in English. 

The net result of this snapping up of unconsidered 
trifles is just this, that in the twelfth, thirteenth, and 
early fourteenth centuries, so barren for English literature, 
these few selected instances are enough to make it prob- 
able that natjxfi.jstprj-tellers were busy with the fable. 
The great places in literature were held by those who 
had French or Latin by inheritance or acquisition. The 
few who could write English seem to have been too 
occupied with the great work of adaptation to concern 
themselves with these rude productions of their own race. 
/And yet the forlorn remnants of English fable-making, 
I and their significant relationship each to each, prove 
\ that this variety of the short story led an active life in 
the native speech. 

By the middle of the fourteenth century, then, the 
didactic story is firmly established in English in all its 
most typical forms. The exempla had become a class 
so comprehensive that it is a very peculiar story which 
could not creep through this gateway into literature. 
The apologue of the most excellent variety had been 



- «. 


brought in from the East. The fable had been spread 
broadcast in Latin and French collections and was at 
home with the teller of English stories. Literature, to 
be sure, had gained no masterpieces, but the seeds of 
future gro^vth were well sown. 



THE conte devot was bound 
dependent upon the literar; 
The exemplum, as a literary fo 
pendent upon this same activity, a 
of the fourteenth century both 
popularity, the gathering influei 
reformation already make clear 1 
The fable and the apologue are c 
ising, for it is not by the moral 
reaches its best. Some time, how 
of Chaucer, narratives whose 
rosier were in bloom beside these 
them as to flowers of the inventii 
conte divot, more beautiful than 
Told for pleasure merely, they 
youngest of stories, and if theii 
narrative literature of early Eng 
pared with the flood of tales ins 


of the middle ages was chiefly busy, should be given 
the first consideration. But here arises a real difficulty. 
In the recounting of doughty adventures and romantic 
deeds, the true short story did not take the important 
part accorded to it by the monks for their spiritual 
imaginings, or the jongleurs for their mirth-making. 
There are short romances as well as long ones, but the 
difference, though often grateful, is in degree, not in 
kind. One feels, indeed, a real distinction between 
300 lines and 3,000, between Havelock and Amadis 
of Gaul, but it is quantitive solely, and not easy to 
bolt to the bran. Again, unlike the reflective story, 
all kinds of adventurous and romantic narratives tend to 
add episode and complexity, even to the vast agglomera- 
tions of the seventeenth century. And thus it is seldom 
that a romance is short by necessity, as with the fable 
or the fabliau, or by art, as in the narratives of Poe 
or of Maupassant. 

And yet, even in this kind of narrative, where it is 
impossible to say that one story is long, the other short, 
and the two kinds shall not meet, there seems to be an 
occasional attempt to get the best from a simple, short, 
and unified plot. One's own impression that the story 
was meant to be short is of little value here, but when 
the writers themselves give to their narratives a name 
which is applied only to stories of a like nature and 
form, we may feel sure that the group, at least, is no 
invention of the critic. Such a story seems to be what 
in all regions of French influence was called a lai. 

There is no time to discuss the interesting question of 
the origin of the Breton lot. That its stories were really 
Celtic in origin, recent studies in folk-lore have made 

'J » 

knights and ladies, and the perfect r 
French. Celtic literature has nothi 
the tales of the Mabinogion are li 
everything which goes to make a goc 
thanks mainly to the wonderful n: 
great centuries of early French litera 
to plots which were short, simple, 
branch of medieval romance comes 
charming short narratives. The bes 
of France's, and in French, though 
But, in addition to a number of plo 
least eight typical lais have been foun 
kind is so excellent, and their nai 
brief, that, even if the rhetorician den} 
true short stories, some space must I 
The earliest English tales lack the 
ities of the lais of Marie and are littl 
They are incorporated in the loose sti 
primitive Brut, and came through t 
This was about the year 1200. A 


Marie of France herself. The style of the poet is not 
remarkable. His phrases are often conventional, and he 
is excellent only for an even-paced movement. But his 
theme is charming. The Greek legend of Orpheus and 
Eurydicc survives in shadowy outline only. Orpheus is 
a feudal king who loves the " gle of harpying." Fairies 
summon his queen, and, though Orfeo guards her with 
a thousand knights, she is taken from their midst. The 
king swings his harp over his shoulder, forsakes his 
kingdom, and loses himself in the wilderness. " He, that 
hadde had castels and tours" makes his bed in moss, 
wanders where *'wilde wormes bi him striketh,*' and 
lives on berries and roots. When the weather is dear 
and bright he harps till the beasts come about him, and 
often in hot undertides he sees: 

** The king o Fairi with his rout 
Com to hunt him al about 
With dun cri and bloweing. 

• • • • • 

Knightes and levedis com daunceing 
In queynt atire gisely, 
Queynt pas and softly." 

Among a troop of fairy ladies, he finds his wife and 
follows her into fairyland itself, a strange Celtic Hades. 
Then Orfeo " tok his harp so miri of soun and tempreth 
his harp, as he wele can," playing till he is granted 
Heurodis, and so, in this happier story, back once more 
to his kingdom and life. '*Gode is the lay, swete is 
the note," says the rimer, a just conclusion and a due 
appr^ation. Here, earlier than elsewhere in English, 
the fairy people have escaped from the folk and established 
themselves in art literature. 


In the same Auchinleck manuscript are two more 
English lots, Le Freine (the ash), whose title hints that 
it is a translation from a famous story of Marie de France, 
and Sir Dagarre; but neither are so charming nor so 
excellent as Orfeo. And from fifteenth century texts of 
earlier origin may be gleaned a few more stories with 
the Celtic imprint, Sir Gowther, Emare, The Earl of 
Toulouse. But Orfeo may stand for the best and most 
typical of its kind until the Sir Launfal of Thomas of 
Chestre, and Chaucer's more polished work in the tales 
of the Franklin and the Wife of Bath. 


Fun and the reflective story are alike ubiquitous. The 
Old French made literature out of their fun, using for 
the purpose an eight-syllabled verse to which they fitted 
some humorous, reflective story, with plenty of spice to 
it, and called the product a fabliau. The title, therefore, 
indicates merely a story of an amusing cast, written in 
verse, and in a fashion originated by the medieval French. 
The type has been defined and discussed by J. Bedier in 
his book, Les Fabliaux. It is the only inlet into real 
literature for the humorous " gpod story," save the Latin 
prose of such rare compositions as Map's wonderful 
tfugis Curialium, until Boccacdo made fashionable the 
Italian novella. 

The fabliau does not cater to the highest tastes. The 
pleasure it engenders is most certain to be appreciated 
by Chaucer's Miller and his kind. It deals by preference 
with the bourgeois, because the bourgeois are richer in 
the laughable weaknesses of human nature. The fabliau 
was written of them, yet not, as is often asserted, for 


them exclusively, or even in chief. It is merely an 
unromantic mood of a literature (and often of specific 
poets) that otherwhile sang high romance and chivalry. 
Of chivalry the lower classes may not have cared to read, 
but it b certain that your gentleman did not scorn your 
fabliau. It is admitted by Chaucer's pilgrims that the 
Miller's scurrilous story is a " cherles tale," and perhaps 
the Knight was one who said '' diversely " from those 
who laughed, but none of the gentry in the company 
express anything but satisfaction with the other contes a 
rire of The Canterbury Tales. 

The narratives from which the minstrels made the 
fabliaux were reflective stories. They were based upon 
human nature; they made capital of its qualities, and 
particularly of its weaknesses; they could always have 
been given some kind of a moral. In fact, they differ 
from the apologue only in that the emphasis has been 
put upon the story proper, instead of upon the moral 
which could be drawn from it. Proof of this is to be 
found in the many instances of such a story used at 
different times and places for moral as well as unmoral 
(sometimes immoral) purposes. La Housse Partie is an 
example. The famous tale of the three caskets is another. 
These keenly reflective stories, always realistic, always 
pungent, of which the fabliau is but a special case, played 
a great part in the middles ages. In the verse of the 
fabliau they became literature, but the reader will find 
them most frequently in the humble prose of the ex' 
emplum, or enlivening a collection of fables. Italians 
and Germans use the term " novella " for such a story. 
Perhaps no other name fits it more conveniently. 

Such narratives began to work their way into English 


writing as soon as the leaven of French influence had 
made composition not so serious a business. Absent, with 
ahnost everything savoring of the humorous, from the 
grave remnant of Old English literature, by the twelfth 
century they begin to be abundant. Most commonly 
one discovers them among the exempla of Wright's Latin 
Stories or Les Contes Moralises of Bozon. In a some- 
what more graceful form they make up those thirteen 
stories among Marie's fables which once may have been 
English, and are certainly not told for instruction merely. 
Or, still again, they masquerade among contes devots and 
miracles, sometimes a sheer conte a rire which has got 
itself cowled, sometimes a more serious story, such as 
the old tale of the hollow sta£E filled with gold and the 
creditor cheated thereby, to be found among the miracles 
of Nicholas in The South-English Legendary, 

But while the fabliaux were made from the merrier 
examples of these stories, not all reflective stories told 
for amusement, rather than to instruct, are fabliaux, and 
deserving of study for their literary value. The plot- 
nuggets of the exemplum collections are neither literary, 
nor in verse, and so not to be called fabliaux. The verse ' 
stories to be found in the literature of the church are 
as long, and sometimes as pretentious, as the genuine 
article, but they lack the verve, the realism, and the 
esprit of the minstrel's story. The famous tales from 
the East which came into English in the collection called 
The Seven Sages, are but slavish reproductions of French 
originals, themselves little more than good plots, and so 
represent only the introduction of excellent, age-polished 
stories into our tongue. To say that there are only a 
very few fabliaux in early English is wrong, if the 


speaker applies that name to the unmoral story of himian 
nature, the novella. But it is unfortunately true that 
only a remnant, composed in the style and spirit of the 
French story, found its way through verse into literature 
and is properly called fabliau. 

Time's worm devours most greedily the lighter fancies 
of past ages, as being, perhaps, of easier digestion. The 
scriptorium, which paid abundant tribute to the false 
learning of the schoolmen, despised the homely wisdom 
of the irreverent fabliau. Three, in fact, is the census 
return of typical specimens for the century and a half 
before Chaucer. But it is evident that these three are 
the survivors, of many more. For the two best come; 
from more than a century before the birth of Chaucer, 
and we may be sure that if there were two then there 
were scores later; a slighter proof is that many fabliaux 
are preserved in later manuscripts, and come, some of 
them, probably from the thirteenth or fourteenth century ; 
a third is the small chance of perpetuation, which makes 
the survival of any significant. It is to be added, that in 
the poems remaining there is wit, original humor, charac- 
terization, and, in one case, style, not inferior to the 
best of the French. 

The oldest of the English fabliaux. Dame Siriz, be- 
longs in the South-West Midland of about 1258, that is, 
earlier than the crude and ballad-like story of the miracle 
of St. James in the South-English Legendary; later, 
however, than many French fabliaux written both in 
England and in France. The story itself was probably 
drawn from an unknown Latin exemplum, and is Indian 
in origin. But there can be no doubt as to the essential 
originality of the English version in everything except 


plot. The vigorous, if very nigged dialogue, the realism 
of detail, the gusto of the author, is proof of this, and, 
furthermore, the story is localized at Botolfston, our 
English Boston. The dialect is barbarous, the art of 
the author in its childhood, and yet the style of this little 
piece is far above the dead level of The Seven Sages, and 
all but the most fervent of religious stories. The lover 
has found his hoped-for mistress virtuous and stony. 
He seeks a love-spell from a wicked old procuress, Dame 
Siriz, or Sirith, who vigorously protests that she knows 
no witchcraft: 

"Blesse the, bless the, leve knave! 
Leste thou mesaventer have, 
For this lesing that is founden 
Oppon me, that am harde i-bonden« 
Ich am on hoH wimon. 
On witchecrafft nout I ne con." 

A little persuasion changes her tone, and the lover gets 
his desire by one of the cleverest tricks in intrigue. Here 
is our step from rolling-stone plot to the story that 
is caught, fixed, and given atmosphere and locality. Our 
example is primitive; therefore all the more interesting. 
The Indian " good story," passing freely through many 
tongues and centuries, is here clearly arrested, and some 
of the humanity which its plot suggests is supplied from 
English experience. Instead of a procuress who might 
be represented by X, we have Dame Siriz, whose hypoc- 
risy and fleshliness stamp and make characteristic her 

A much more finished production is The Vox and the 
Wolf, written probably in the second half of the thirteenth 



century, and this time in the dialect of Kent or Sussex. 
Its kernel is the familiar tale of the well with the buckets, 
into one of which the guileful Reynard lures the trusting 
Isengrym. Though properly an episode of the old 
romance of Reynard, in form and in spirit it is a genuine 
fabliau, and of the first water. It begins with a night- 
piece, where the hungry fox makes entrance through the 
walls of the sleeping monastery in search of food. He 
finds the hen yard, eats some hens, and then longs for 
the cock. Come down and be bled, says Reynard, " for 
almes sake ... I have leten thine hennen blod." 
Chauntecleer is wise. He declaims against the enemy, who, 
burning with thirst, seeks the well and, by misadventure, 
gpes down in one of the buckets. Isengrym wanders, 
by chance, near the well. The fox maintains it is para- 
i dise below; but the wolf must be shrived before he can 
I come, and this is the opportunity for one of the wittiest 
I dialogues in all the great animal epos. This last, and 
! much of the main incident, is borrowed from the French, 
I but it is a great error to call the poem merely an ex- 
cellent translation. The piquant phrasing, the vigor of 
the scenes, as in the conclusion, where the awakening 
friar calls, in his Southern speech, "Ariseth on and on, 
and kometh to houssong hevere uchon," then pulls up 
the bucket with the wolf therein and thinks he sees the 
devil, all suggest the contrary. Up to the scene at the 
well, the unique variant of Branch 4 of the Roman du 
Renart, preserved in Ms. 3334 of the Bibliotheque de 
L' Arsenal, is the closest analogue, while the ordinary 
version, as presented in the edition of Meon, is nearer 
the latter half of the poem. In short, the English author 
can be tied down to no existing original, while the 


interlude of Reynard and Chauntecleer is to be found in 
no one of the foreign stories. If the English poet could 

"Him were levere meten one hen, 
Than half an oundred wimmen/' 

he could rearrange the narrative without assistance. Fur- 
thermore, to the rare humor with which the beast-epic 
was so fully charged the writer of this Southern poem 
was most simpatico, and his rendering contains more of 
it than can easily be found elsewhere in his century. 

The third of our fabliaux, A Pennyworth of JVitte, 
is the latest, its manuscript dating from only about 1359, 
and by far the least interesting. It preserves an old 
apologue idea, whose kernel is a test of the false friend 
and the true. Here it is a wife who is faithful, a 
leman who is false. Kolbing, the editor, too readily 
asserts that this is merely a French fabliau Englished. 
Jean le Galois's De la Bourse Pleine de Sens, the 
only French rendering of the story which we possess, 
is quite different in detail, and the resemblances are those 
which oral tradition, or memory, would supply. His 
villain is less black, his heroine less noble than in the 
English story. And again, both of the native fabliaux 
(for there is a later version) avoid the localization in 
France, moving the scene so that the husband travels 
into France instead of from it. However, we claim no 
more for the English poet than a possible independence. 
He reaches the level of the mediocre French tale, but 
adds nothing which may be accredited to his individual 
effort, while, in this instance, vigor of diction, vividness I 
of detail, and force of characterization, are not noticeable. | 


Thus, even with scant materials, the growth of the 
fabliau in England in these earlier centuries can be pretty 
clearly traced. First, there are floating " good stories," 
written down only in exemplum or fable collections, and 
most alive, we must suppose, in the popular mouth. 
Sometimes they drift into conte divot or legend, and 
become involved with ascetics or with saints. But when- 
ever they appear in this first stage it is still evident that 
they come from a region above and beyond any national 
peculiarity or localism. In the thirteenth century, the 
birds are caught and winged in England, as they had 
been before in France. The stories are given a local 
habitation and a name, they are stocked with real people 
of the period, and enriched by all that distinguishes the 
concrete from the abstract This is what happened in 
France when the fabliau was made from the good story 
of the Parisian street, or of the exemplum collections, or 
of all ages. And The Vox and the Wolf, and Dame 
Siriz show the same development in England. Yet the 
racial adaptation in these English fabliaux is very slight. 
At the most they are good instances of an adopted French 
style and type. Their authors write in the French tradi- 
tion, and there is more that is really English in the wordy 
exempla of Robert of Brunne than in the spirituel narra- 
tive of The Vox and the JVolf. The history of the 
English fabliau before Chaucer is the history of the 
adoption of the French form. 




UP to this point wc have been busy with the intro- 
duction of the various story types into English, and, 
even though condensation has been exercised to the danger- 
point, much writing of only historical value has at least 
had to be called by name. But with the last half of 
the fourteenth century, and the first signs of maturity 
in English literary art, the need of excessive reference 
to unsuccessful narrative vanishes, and one comes with 
relief and satisfaction to great writers who sum up the 
excellencies and demerits of their generations. The 
church exemplum, the Eastern apologue, the Grseco- 
Indian fable, the French fabliau and lai, now given the 
run of England, continue as the ready tools of native 
story-tellers. It would be interesting, in this late four- 
teenth century, to follow the ramifications of type in- 
fluence, to study Langland with the fabliau. The Pearl 
with the homily and conte divot. But as soon as great 
personalities enter, it is the quality more than the nature 
of the story which interests us, and the continuity of the 
old types becomes of less importance than the individual or 
racial genius which employs an established medium. 

In short narrative, at this period, there are two com- 
manding figures whose work is so eminently of, and yet 
above, their times, that the short stories outside of their 



books may be neglected as sporadic, or as unprofitable 
repetitions of a kind of story-telling long since parted 
from Its freshness. Needless to say that these two men 
are Gower and Chaucer; of whom Gower, as most 
bound to the traditions with whose rise we have been 
busy, deserves first consideration. 


For reasons numerous if not good, the word " moral " 
in English has usually connoted " dull." Almost ever 
since Chaucer spoke of the " moral Gower " the reputa- 
tion of that poet has been increasing, but for dulness, not 
excellence or morality. Yet the author of the prologue to 
Pericles did not think stupid the story of " ancient 
Gower," for " lords and ladies in their lives have read it 
for restoratives." It is certain, also, that the Confessio 
Amantis was not held dull in its author's day. Nor do I 
believe that a selection of stories from this work would 
be tedious reading now. Scarcely ever long, almost free 
from digressions, with an easy narrative style that car- 
ries the plot on a steady current, Gower's tales are 
faulty only as studies of character, and this defect they 
share with practically all medieval narrative outside of 
Chaucer. It is not the stories, but the framework in 
which they are enclosed, which make us grumble over 
reading the Confessio A mantis. 

The plan of the Confessio A mantis (1383 or 1384) 
does not in any way resemble the pleasant frames in 
which Boccaccio a little earlier, and Chaucer a little later, 
set their tales. It is rather in direct imitation of those 
religious treatises which, like Handlyng Synne, were col- 
lections of stories illustrating ethics and doctrine. Gower 


took the sins of the five senses (of which he handled only 
two), and the seven deadly sins, Pride, Envy, Wrath, 
Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust, all in their relation to 
love. A priest of Venus preaches their dangers to the 
author, who professes to be a lover. Each sin is illus- 
trated, in good homily-fashion, by a tale, and to the 
category is added a popular medieval text-book, How 
Aristotle taught Alexander, "whereof," said Gower to 
his priest, " my herte sore longeth to wite what it wolde 
mene." At the end of the long discussion the poet, still 
unrelieved of his pain, and refusing to give up his love, 
writes to Cupid and Venus. Cupid removes his arrow, 
and Gower promptly discovers that he is old and cold, 
and cares no more for love. This framework must have 
had a pleasant piquancy for the fourteenth century reader, 
who saw the popular sins of the (tesh discussed in relation 
to so impersonal a matter as abstract love; while, at the 
same time, the treatment was in keeping with the S3rm- 
bolizing tendency of the age. But although this method 
may have charmed Gower's readers, as the arts of ro- 
mance applied to the lives of the beasts charm us to-day, 
the zest is now quite gone. To labor over the seven 
deadly sins is bad enough, but when the sum of the whole 
is the welfare, not of the soul, nor of the body, but of 
an abstract and fanciful love, the mind refuses to take 
hold of the argument, and must perforce be bored. 
Hence the dulness of Gower, arising not from his nar- 
ratives, which, like all good stories, are perennial, but 
from the empty discourse that surrounds them. 

As might be gathered from his imitation of a moral 
treatise, Gower inherits the powerful religious tradition 
of medieval English literature. Though he writes his 


Stories with every desire to tell good and amusing tales, 
his narrative methods are those of the authors of stories 
told for instruction mainly. Viewed every way he is a 
writer of exempla, and that his exemplum collection is 
better than anything else of the kind in English does not 
alter the conclusion. The most casual comparison be- 
tween the Confessio A mantis and any of the assemblages 
of exempla in the earlier periods of the literature will 
confirm this statement. The same old medieval Latin 
collections of story-nuggets are drawn upon, stories are 
introduced as '' ensamples/' and told to illustrate a doc- 
trinal point ; one finds an exemplum even in the Prologue, 
which itself plods along just as the religious treatises 

The stories themselves, though diverse in subject- 
matter, do not embrace many types. The best short-story 
forms of the early fourteenth century, the conte divot 
and the fabliau, are almost excluded, the former, perhaps, 
because the book was too secular, the latter because it 
was too moral. The fable, below the dignity of the 
priestly speaker's pompous vein, is absent too. But there 
are apologues from Barlaam and Josaphat, and elsewhere, 
romances, such as Appolonius and The Pious Constance, 
anecdotes and belle risposte. Commoner still are ver- 
sions, and good ones, of the literary m)rths of Ovid, and 
of what might be called quasi-historical episodes drawn 
from the familiar medieval repositories. Of these last, 
The Story of Pope Boniface, The Luxury of Nero, 
Alexander and the Pirate, are random instances of the 
narratives which make up the greater part of the collec- 
tion. Gower chose cannily and does not hesitate to 
say so: 


** I wolde go the middel wey 
And write a boke betwene the twcy. 
Somwhat of lust, somwhat of lore, 
That of the lasse or of the more 
Som man may like of that I write." 

But though he shows little discrimination in the choice 
of his plots, as a story-teller he is far above contempt. 
Perhaps narrative never runs much more smoothly than 
in the best of his easy, four-stress couplets. 

" The greate stedes were assaied 
For justinge and for tornement, 
And many a perled gamement 
Embrouded was ayein the day. 
The lordes in her beste array 
Be comen at the time set; 
One justeth well, an other bet, 
And other while they tomey; 
And thus they casten care awey; 
And token lustes upon honde." 

No digression, no emotional outbursts, no comments 
clog his stories. The style is as unimpeded and as lucid 
as that of the French, w^hose tongue was as familiar 
to him as his own. If the narrative is seldom so art- 
fully handled as to gain by what is cut away, yet there 
are no monstrous introductions or disjointed climaxes to 
ruin the uniform excellence of proportion. Nothing could 
be more fluent than his telling of Ovid's tale of Actaon 
for example, and, though he makes no attempt to realize 
and vivify the story, yet another prime requisite of tale- 
teUing, a flowing, well-ordered narrative, must be ac- 


corded him. Never so vivid as Chaucer's, the descriptions 
everywhere are adequate and e£Fective: 

"And some prick her horse aside 
And bridlen hem now in now oute." 

And last, Gower possesses the art which in a story-teller 
is to be prized above rubies — he knows when to stop. 

These merits, in origin, are not entirely unrelated to 
certain faults in the tales of the Confessio J mantis, which 
must now be recorded. It is, in part, because they are 
exempla, that brevity, lucidity, and freedom from inter- 
ruption are enjoined upon the narratives. Each story 
illustrates its point; great length, digression, complexity, 
all impair efficiency for such a purpose. To this didactic 
purpose, however, may be assigned a certain lack of 
climax in many of the stories, a fault speedily felt, though 
not easily shown. Unlike Chaucer, very unlike the mod- 
ems, but in close resemblance to the medieval homilists, 
Gower drifts through his tale, not assembling his forces 
for a climax, sometimes not pointing the story at all. One 
often feels the plot die away as one reads, until it fades 
into the moralizing. Extensive quotation would be nec- 
essary in order to support this criticism, but it may be 
tested with the stories of The Caliph, the Sultan, and the 
False Bachelor, or Pope Boniface and Pope Celestin, for 
typical examples. The fault is rhetorical; its cause an 
undue preoccupation with the illustrative possibilities of 
the stories; its presence only another evidence of how 
completely Gower wrote in the school of the exemplum, 
of which, in England, he is the head. 

This author's merits and demerits are made visible by 


a comparison between certain of his stories and the same 
plots as they reappear in The Canterbury Tales. Gower 
sticks to the letter of the story, and sometimes excels in 
it ; Chaucer apprehends the spirit. Occasionally, the more 
pedestrian method is the better. Gower's Phebus and 
Cornide comes to the point, while the same story, when 
told by Chaucer's Manciple, does not. His introduction to 
the tale of Constance is more lucid and better propor- 
tioned than that of the Lawyer in Chaucer's equivalent 
narrative; his verse, though infinitely less rich, is ade- 
quate ; his descriptions, not nearly so vivid, are suggestive. 
In Florent, Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale, he stands 
comparison quite as well. His plot, if cumbersome, is 
more probable, and there is no such incongruity as the 
excellent curtain-lecture with which Chaucer's hag aug- 
ments the story. Lacking all the satire, most of the 
humor, and much of the beauty, Gower's poem is better 

But, after all, he is but doing well in these stories 
what earlier English writers had done badly. Half the 
charm of The Wife of Bath's Tale is due to the easy 
informality of the construction. Two-thirds of Chaucer's 
story-telling art lies in his enrichment of narrative, which 
Gower caused to flow, but could not make luminous with 
comment, with humor, and with pathos. Neither char- 
acter, nor the vivid reality of the visible world which 
dispossesses the X and Y who move through the stories 
of the exempla, were possible for Gower's achievement. 
In his own province he was excellent, but he tramped the 
old roads, and saw little further into a story than Robert 
of Brunne, Marie of France, and the hosts before him. 
He is a remarkably skilful, and sometimes a very power- 


ful, teller of illustrative stories, and his service to Eng- 
lish short narrative is that he brought it fully up to the 
standard set by the most adroit handlers of plot in the 
middle ages, the French. At his worst, he falls to the level 
of The Northern Homilies, or Handlyng Synne; at his 
best, he is the equal of any story-teller who can not see 
behind the scenes of his story so as to mold his plot and 
shape his words according to what he finds there — and 
that is to say, of the great majority of story-writers, 
ancient and modern. 


The versatile Chaucer, infected with the spirit of the 
earliest renaissance, and as flexible in mind as in style, 
is the great innovator, as Gower is the great conservative, 
of this story-telling generation. Nevertheless, he drew 
as freely as Gower from the old storehouses, learned as 
much from earlier example, and, indeed, sums up the 
various activities of medieval narrative more perfectly 
than his contemporary because the wider range of his 
work made it possible to represent a greater number of 
the types established in England before him. Here is no 
Byron, surprising his audience into applause with a ChUde 
Harold or a Don Juan, literary species strange to the 
language, but an adroit genius who knows how to put new 
wine into the old bottles. Troilus and Cressida and The 
Knight's Tale aside, there is no one of his narratives which 
does not find its place at the head of some story kind long 
popular with English readers. 

It is easy to see why Chaucer should be conservative in 
the forms he chose for the expression of his genius. His 
century, the fourteenth,' was the time of the earliest 


renaissance in Italy, but of the decline of the middle 
ages in France, and their September in England. It was 
an era when an Englishman, even if travel had stirred him 
with the new spirit then abroad in Italy, would still be 
in close touch with the old thought and old manners of 
the waning age. In England, indeed, no great change 
had taken place in life or thought since the previous 
century, except the gradual reassertion of English blood 
and English character in the leadership of the nation. 
This latter development would itself tend to make a poet 
conservative. It would rouse his interest in English 
things which were rustic, neglected by courtly folk, and 
thus little changed from earlier days. 

But if Chaucer's interest in English life helped him to 
a love of old manners, old customs, and old tales, he is 
certainly no conservative in his depiction of this life, for 
in such work he has no earlier rival, almost no model. 
His most notable conservatism, indeed, appears in the 
close resemblance borne by so many of his poems to the 
story types we have already seen domesticated in English. 
These types, these literary methods and fashions of ex- 
pression, had well-nigh all come either from France, the 
fount of medieval culture, or from the universal educator, 
the church. In the literature of these two schools Chau- 
cer himself had been trained ; the literary past upon which 
he builds was that which England shared with all Europe. 

His dependence upon medieval tradition, and particu- 
larly upon the French culture which was as standard in 
England as in France, has been abundantly illustrated by 
Professor Lounsbury, and other critics. His dependence 
upon earlier narrative-types was, naturally, as close. The 
fabliaux and fabliauAikt anecdotes of the Canterbury pil- 


grimage, the Miller's, Reeve's, Merchant's, Shipman's, 
Summoner's, those tales that " sownen in to synne," are 
blood-brothers of the stock contes a rire of the French. 
The Friar's tale, of the greedy reeve, a left-handed conte 
divot, is of a kind common enough in the Latin exemplum 
collections. The Nun's Priest's tale of Chauntecleer, 
though infinitely developed from its original fable, reveals 
itself as indubitable heir to the tradition of the animal epic, 
and kin to The Vox and the Wolf of the thirteenth cen- 
tury. The Pardoner's tale was Eastern once, and is of 
a kind with the novellas and apologues of the Eastern 
collections. It is harder to place the Canon Yeoman's 
tale because here is a description from life in the manner 
of the Elizabethan cony-catching pamphlets, and yet this 
story is but a special case of the fabliau. 

A further inquiry reveals how thoroughgoing is this 
resemblance between Chaucer and his predecessors. The 
favorite molds of religious literature prove to be quite 
as well represented as the secular. There is the most ex- 
quisite of all English saints' legends, the Second Nun's ver- 
sion of the life of St. Cecile; then the Prioress's tender 
Mary-story of the little dergeoun; a treatise of devo- 
tion minus exempla in the Parson's sermon ; and, in Meli- 
beus, an allegory like Grosseteste's Chateau d* Amour, with 
the form of the old debat. Nor is the exemplum wanting 
to complete the list. The Monk's tale is a collection of 
historical exempla closely resembling some from the Con- 
fessio A mantis. The story of Virginia is an elaborate 
historical exemplum whose plot might have been taken 
from many of the compilations for preacher's use. The 
Pardoner follows the accepted practice in his prologue, 
** Thanne telle I hem ensamples many oon of olde stories 


long tyme agoon," while the famous novella of greed 
and gpld which follows is almost the best example in any 
literature of an illustrative narrative. 

Returning to the secular in its popular and romantic 
examples, one finds the Franklin's tale, a professed Breton 
laL The Wife of Bath's tale is probably lot too. It has 
an Irish, and thus a Celtic, parallel. It leads us back to 
a time when, " The elf queene with hir jolye compaignye 
daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede." The wander- 
ing knight, like Orfeo, sees the fairy dance, which van- 
ishes as he approaches, and the old hag of the story trans- 
forms to the typical beautiful stranger from the other 
world, who confers love and favor upon the mortal. Good 
folk-lore, too, is the tale of Griselda, although com- 
pounded with rhetoric and didacticism en route to Chau- 
cer. As for the unfinished story told by the squire. The 
Arabian Nights have made us familiar with such medie- 
val material. In the West, it was rarer, but that it was 
spread abroad is shown by the legends of Virgil, with 
certain tales in The Seven Sages, Map's Nugis Curialium, 
and the Otia Imperialia of Gervase of Tilbury. Nor are 
romances wanting. Sir Thopas is a burlesque of the worst 
and commonest of Middle English kinds; the tale of 
Constance, on the contrary, is a wonderfully perfect ex- 
ample of another type, that loose-jointed story, held to- 
gether by recognition scenes, which was common among 
saints' legends, and full of reminiscences of the novel of 
the Greeks. Only the Knight's tale, with its renaissance 
trappings and classic reminiscences, fits with difficulty into 
a medieval compartment. 

Thus Chaucer's Canterbury Tales flow in channels al- 
ready digged. The idea of a pilgrimage is new only in 


that a pilgrimage used as a story-frame instead of the 
less excellent contrivances of The Seven Sages, Barlaam 
and Josaphat, or Handlyng Synne, enabled the author to 
be more various and more interesting. And if we gp fur- 
ther afield in the works of the poet, we find that The 
Legende of Good Women sets off the excellencies of the 
feminine much as one set of stories in The Seven Sages are 
used, " In schewing how that wemen han don mis." 
Troilus and Criseyde is a stumbling-block, but if it is to 
be named at all, it must be called a verse novel, and so 
does not come into the scope of this discussion. 

All this is merely to illustrate Chaucer the conservative. 
Nor does it contain the slightest implication that by 
honoring the methods of his predecessors he loses a whit 
of that credit for striking originality which must always 
be given him. Indeed, Chaucer the innovator is much the 
more interesting of the two, because nearly all that makes 
the poet still readable after so many centuries is due to 
those attributes which his independent genius added to the 
old forms of narrative. With him, English story-telling 
left the Latin road at last. 

It is very dangerous to apply the scientific methods in 
favor with modern scholarship to so human, so versatile, 
above all, to so humorous a genius as Chaucer's. The 
scholar who makes analyses of the Canterbury tales would 
have found a charming comer in the Prologue! And yet 
a little line counting, and a bit of subtraction, brings out 
so clearly the quality in which this consummate story- 
teller transcends his models, that we dare risk turning sub- 
stance into accident. Put the fabliau of credulous Janu- 
ary and his unfaithful May upon the operating table, and 
dissect it in German fashion. There are 1,174 lines. The 


first 22 begin the story in the manner of a French 
fabliau. With the 23d, and before the plot begins to 
unfold, the poet drifts off into an ironical praise of wiving 
which lasts until the 148th line. We return to the hero, 
and a wordy battle over his choice of a wife, which, in- 
stead of advancing the action, is merely ironical dialogue 
throwing light on the character of the old knight and the 
nature of his folly. Only with line 446 does the plot begin 
to move; then Chaucer gallops merrily through the re- 
maining 728 lines, pausing only for the usual appeals to 
Fortune, to Ovyde, and to Salomon. Thus there are 
750 lines of story, 424 of humor, wit, moralizing, and 
suggestion of character. 

Boccaccio, in the ninth novella of the seventh day of 
The Decameron, tells very much the same tale — but, like 
most French and Italian writers of fabliaux and novelle, 
with no introduction and no digressions. Therefore, if 
we subtract his substance from Chaucer's, the content of 
the aforesaid 424 lines comes into the remainder to be 
characterized and accredited to Chaucer. Much, of 
course, can not be embraced in this figure of subtraction: 
beauty of verse, profundity of thought, humor, above all, 
the reality attained in the English poem by every prob- 
able circumstance accompanying the action, and by the 
poignant touches of personality which the Italian could 
not give. Yet, neglecting these elements for the sake of 
emphasis, let us consider the quality of the opening 424 
lines of the Merchant's story which have no counterpart 
in The Decameron, and their relation to the story they 

Like all fabliaux, this famous little story of the pear 
tree is based upon an error of human nature; here, just 


the weakness of the man whose self-conceit blinds him to 
his own infirmities, and whose silly optimism makes him 
believe that the images which his sentimental fancy paints 
for him are true copies of the bliss to come. The fault 
is universal, and its universality makes the story something 
more than a racy practical joke in which an old husband 
is tricked by a young wife. Without it, the narrative 
would have no more value than would appertain to The 
Ass in the Lions Skin, if men ceased to clothe themselves 
in virtues not their own. 

But this same universal quality is the theme of Chaucer's 
aforesaid 424 lines! In them he expounds and illustrates 
the folly of the old husband, the man who believed all 
matrimony to be perfect bliss. Out of his own mouth 
January is convicted, for it is his own discourse on the 
joys of marriage which tells the secret, reveals his folly 
before the punishment is hatched, shows us the pit already 
dug for his feet, and baited with the ravishing May. So 
we know old January, as we know many a foolish friend 
who is ripe for a fall, and when the catastrophe arrives 
in the form of the real plot of the story, our interest is the 
keener because we realize how inevitable is the denoue- 
ment, and how significant the whole as an illustration of 
one of the everlasting failings of human nature. Thus, 
for Chaucer, this is not just a good tale to be retold in the 
French style. Pondered more deeply, it is a treatise upon 
humanity; or it is a specimen from which the living 
creature may be reconstructed. And reconstruction is his 
work, to accomplish which he brings back personality, 
through act and speech, to the bare bones of the narrative, 
and then, not content, parades the love-sodden January 
upon his stage, so that the plot's keen reflection upon 


human error may be made sharper by a better view of the 
foolish hero who incarnates the qualities which are 
mocked. It is as if to The Ass in the Lion's Skin should 
be prefixed a character study of the egregious ass, his 
pomposity in the market-place, his desire to make clear 
his descent from the noble wild ass of Job, so that he 
should be known to be true ass before the lion's skin 
urged him to gain a loftier reputation. But Chaucer 
does all this with men! With an instinct for spirit 
stronger than the feeling for form which keeps the Latin 
races to the story, he has apprehended the potential value 
of this Merchant's tale, commented indirectly upon it in 
his 424 lines, and emphasized it throughout his story, until 
this value emerges as the sum of the whole. 

Every one of Chaucer's fabliaux could be brought to the 
table in the same fashion, and would show, in greater or 
less degree, the same characteristic quality. There is the 
Summoner's tale, a vulgar joke on a begging friar, but 
raised towards the great places of literature by the four 
hundred and odd lines given the rascally limitour, to 
show how thoroughly he personifies the greed and the 
hypocrisy of such agents of the church. *' I am a man of 
litel sustenaunce. My spirit hath his fostryng in the 
Bible," says the reprobate, just after he has asked for a 
capon's liver, a shiver of soft bread, and a roasted pig's 
head ! The Reeve's tale is another practical joke, and this, 
in spite of poetical embellishment, is its highest title as 
Jean de Boves tells it in De Gombert et des Deux Clercs, 
which Le Clerc praises as Chaucer's original ; nor does the 
later English version. The Miller of Abyngdon, deserve 
a better name. Not so with Chaucer, who, getting his 
plot, no doubt, from the French, begins with a lively 


description of the proud miller and his well-bom dame, 
and, never slackening his grip upon real life, contrives that 
we see clearly that it is typical pride which gets its typical 
fall. Furthermore, though scarcely to be called a fabliau^ 
there is the Pardoner's tale. An excellent narrative, 
marred by a digression upon gluttony, drunkards, and 
greed of every kind — such is a common estimate of this 
wonderful little novella, where murder undoes murder 
in the most perfect telling of one of the oldest of plots. 
And yet the terrible conclusion which clears the stage 
of all the " yonge folk, that haunteden folye," is the keen- 
est of reflections upon just the vices dwelt upon in the 
marring excursus! The sermon, in this case, is overlong 
for the tale which illustrates it, overrich in ensamples 
and parallels, but remember it is the Pardoner, a pro- 
fessional exhorter, who is speaking. " Lo, sires," he says at 
the end, " thus I prechc." Indeed, the structure of the 
Pardoner's tale is only another instance of how each one 
of Chaucer's reflective stories is put to work, made to 
illustrate human nature, a task which, among all narra- 
tives, tales of this kind are best fitted to perform. 

Nor, finally, in this connection, must we omit to note 
that digression for the sake of moralizing and character 
development, among the shorter stories, is common, as it 
should be, only in the reflective narratives. Many years 
ago, in his Etude sur Goeffrey Chaucer, perhaps the earli- 
est study of Chaucer as a subject for comparative litera- 
ture, Sandras remarked that Chaucer departed very little 
from his original in legends, and only to bring in classical 
allusions, or for the purposes of satire in his iais. But, by 
added details, by the eloquence of his personages, and by 
his truth to character, he became a creator in his fabliaux. 


A reader more sensitive to the merits of English diction 
would probably estimate the originality of the lais and 
legends more highly; we will be content to re-emphasize 
the textual freedom of the fabliaux, adding that their 
transformation was thoroughly artistic because it was in 
highest accord with the latent possibilities of the reflective 

The tadpole, in the interesting process of evolution, 
suddenly discovers that it can do without a tail, and be- 
comes much more agile when its appendage disappears. 
In these reflective stories, just analyzed, Chaucer grasps 
the real value of the narrative, and nobly despises plot 
and nothing but plot. The e£Fect upon the fabliau we have 
just seen. And the result of this attitude, there and else- 
where, was a freedom of narrative, a depth and variety 
of comment upon life which had no parallel before him. 
If the thing had been done by selection, it might seem 
that he learned how to tell a good story from the French 
jongleurs, and how to apply it from the writers of the 
church, then blended the two methods into a compound 
richer than either. But such an explanation is superficial. 
Chaucer's interest in human nature, in personality, in all 
the manifestations of daily life, an interest more poignant, 
more powerful than that of any other medieval, is not 
so readily disposed of. Individual genius, which never 
can be entirely accounted for, would be a truer cause, and 
yet this solution of the problem is not completely satis- 
factory. Some part of the English poet's new angle of 
vision, and some degree of his fresh interest in our world, 
must be due to the wave of the earliest renaissance which 
reached England through him. He was in Italy at its 
very birth; his masters were its first prophets; his work 


shows much of that obsession by humanity which was 
to be its most particular trait. He discourses upon char- 
acter and upon manners as the Elizabethan novella 
writers were to do two centuries later. He studies man, 
no mere type, neither soul alone, nor body alone, but as 
the Elizabethan dramatists, in the full swing of the 
renaissance, again saw and depicted him. 

Yet Chaucer has few of the faults which belong to 
narrative of the later renaissance in the sixteenth cen- 
tury. He was not dazzled by the new knowledge as were 
its writers of fiction. He is not diverted into pages of 
empty argument by his interest in manners, nor into a 
false rhetoric by a rage to refine the tongue. Why? Per- 
haps because, in a fashion which his century and his place 
of birth explain, he was essentially of his age, while adding 
to its methods, its moral system, its intellectual scope, a 
keener interest in the men which it had molded, an interest 
quickened by the springs of the coming renaissance. More 
of the new life and the new learning which was just 
beginning to ferment in Italy might have confused his 
vision and perturbed the clear sanity of his mind, as it did 
with Fenton, with Petty, and with Lyly, two centuries 
later. But, keeping to the rhythm of medieval thought 
and feeling, that element of renaissance spirit which he 
absorbed served to enrich, not to impair, his criticism 
of life. It is for this reason that Chaucer's fiction is a 
mature art, his presentation of character and action ripe 
and mellowed, as with Shakespeare and his contempo- 
raries, who were beyond the confusion and extravagance 
of the early sixteenth century as Chaucer was before it 
Not till the eighteenth century docs fiction reach such a 
height again. 


Rightly considered, this modern spirit operating through 
a medieval brain explains many of the improvements in 
Chaucer's short stories. Excellence of verse it does not 
explain, nor those qualities eminently personal and to be 
attributed to genius alone. But the just discussed enrich- 
ment of the fabliau belongs under this head. Here, too, 
as a S3miptom of the same renaissance activity, is to 
be placed the sacrifice of the nice balance of the Latin 
stories in order to bring out what ordinarily lies between 
the lines. Thus Chaucer pauses, in the story which he 
took from Petrarch, to reflect upon the mob : 


O stormy peple ! unsad, and ever untrewe ! 

Ay undiscreet, and chaungynge as a vane, 

Delitynge ever in rumbul that is newe; 
• • • « • • 

A ful greet fool is he that on yow leeveth." 

Here also belong the little personal things brought into 
the narrative through interest in the personalities which 
they make real for us : the twenty books at the " beddes 
heed," the merchant's reasons that he ''spoke ful sol- 
empncly," the cat the friar drives from the bench. Here, 
finally, some, at least, of the lyric outbursts which relieve 
the poet's heart, burdened by accumulating sympathy 
with the men and women who are moving through their 
roles. *' O sowdanesse, roote of iniquitee 1 " he breaks 
forth in the tale of Constance, where Gower had held his 
peace and called no names; and time and time again he 
indulges in scores of lyric lines at the pauses of his nar- 
rative. There are, of course, other reasons for discursive- 
ness. Free will, the classic mythology, and such intellectual 


fillips, familiar to all the midde ages, make him take the 
rein occasionally. And it is true that this excess was fur- 
thered by his enfranchisement in all the rights of story. 
But if such freedom caused him to err, yet, as the Vene- 
tian architects of his own day were enriching the fabric of 
their great church by covering its walls with marbles and 
mosaic, so, by means of his most happy freedom, Chaucer 
was enabled to make better what was already good. 

All this is Chaucer's service to English story-telling. 
Technically, he showed how to write a story which com- 
bined rich description, incisive comment, lyrical emotion, 
and a good plot, in one reasonably harmonious whole. 
As an artist, he raised the whole craft of story-telling from 
a level at which a graceful beginning, a flowing middle, 
and a dignified end constituted the whole duty of a min- 
strel. With him commences, at least in England, most of 
the subtleties of plot arrangement, most of the "busy 
care" for truth to life and character, which mark the 
artist working in full maturity and in an original vein. 
Precedent is everything in story-telling, which is the most 
conservative of the arts. Chaucer clung to precedent, re- 
told old tales, held to ancient forms, ranged through the 
old fields of intrigue, adventure, and misfortune. Yet he 
broke the bonds of servitude to plot; showed that Malkyn 
of the dairy, Thomas of the mill, and Hugh of the 
cloister, might step into the narrative and turn it into 
English life. Showed, too, that the homeliest tale could 
be made excellently humorous, tremulously pathetic, or 
surpassingly beautiful, if only the writer could see it as 
it would have happened. Much of this achievement is 
due to personal genius; but some of the most characteristic 
excellencies remain, and these denote him a transitional 



writer, his accomplishment pointing ahead to the bursting 
of the shackles of medievalism, yet in itself mature, har- 
monious, unperturbed by excess, and the best of mediums 
for the strong English thought which at last had come to 
its own in narrative literature. 



IN the fifteenth century that vision of the renaissance 
which Chaucer glimpsed began to fade, leaving to 
English literature scarcely more than the momentiun of 
his advance. There were but few added impulses, and 
these were all Scotch. Indeed, we must broaden our use 
of English to include this northern language or leave out 
almost all that is really valuable in short narrative be- 
tween Chaucer and the Elizabethans. For from England 
proper came nothing but the Chaucerian echoes of the 
few writers capable of carrying on his tradition, and a 
prodigious amount of vulgar, or, at least, unliterary, nar- 
rative in the pre-Chaucerian fashion, with neither novelty 
nor freshness to recommend it. 

With this last we may well begin, since to discuss it is 
to hark backward rather than forward. Owing nothing 
to Chaucer, it represents the ever-flowing stream of story 
for popular consumption, always conservative, and often 
unaffected by literary movements above it. In this cur- 
rent, fabliaux and short romances were abundant, and, 
judging from their degenerate character, are evidently 
marching into desuetude, or to vulgar chap-book and 
broadside. There are new legendaries, both in England 
and in Scotland, but with nothing new in them for this 



inquiry. The fable of the " unenlumsmed " variety, where 
the Englishman adds nothing to the observation of the 
Greek, is frequent among the exempla, and at least one 
notable writer, Lydgate, compiled another JEsop. But 
to none of these narratives can we afford space for dis- 
cussion, since, if we may decide from what is accessible, 
they are all equally deficient in literary merit and in sig- 
nificance for the development of the short story. Only 
the exemplum deserves some added words. The didactic, 
illustrative stories, so abundant in the Latin of this and 
earlier periods, now come over in far greater numbers into 
English prose, and are preserved in at least one famous 

Unlike the other collections of exempla which have come 
from this fifteenth century, the Gesta Romanorum, or 
Deeds of the Romans, is famous. The Gesta is still well 
known because its tales have served as originals for more 
artistic stories, and thus have transcended their exemplary 
value. It is a book which has for unifying principle this, 
— ^that all of the episodes therein told and moralized upon 
are said to have happened in the time of certain emperors 
of Rome, often with the said emperors as heroes. The 
names of these emperors, Gordianus, Alexander, Eu- 
femianus who " was a wise Emperour Reignynge in the 
citec of Rome," suggest the fictitious quality of the book, 
which itself gains a certain quasi-classical dignity from 
such attributions. Originally the collection was Latin and 
made in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth centuries, 
perhaps in England, but the earliest English translations 
belong with the period which we are now to discuss. 

A casual reader of the Gesta Romanorum might ac- 
count for its very extensive influence upon later literature 


by saying that the stories were quaint, and that there were 
many good plots. But other collections of exempla of not 
half its reputation contain as many practicable plots, and, 
of course, it is only our view-point which makes the strange 
and adventurous actions of these romantic emperors 
quaint. Nor has any lofty merit of narrative brought 
honor upon the Gesta. Occasionally there is a bit of 
realism, as in the case of the justice's men who ** were 
a-ferde, and helde the clothes faste in here handes " when 
the demon-ape lifted the bed clothes from their feet and 
" fanned hem wynde." But its stories were told to be 
moralized. The facts of the case, in a couple of pages, 
are all we get, and what imagination there is to expend i9 
exhausted upon a " moralitee," where often a very pro- 
fane story has to be made to justify the ways of God. 
Usually, these deeds of the Romans are about equal in 
merit to Robert of Brunne's average story. And yet 
they are far more famous and influential. 

The explanation, after all, is very simple. Not for 
itself is the Gesta famous, but for what men got out of it. 
It was pillaged merely because it was better adapted for 
pillaging than any of the other collections; hence its 
superiority. The compilers and redactors seem to have 
worked upon evolutionary lines just far enough so that 
the old stories, from earlier plot storehouses, took on suiS- 
cient life, and color, and complexity, to be attractive and 
to suggest a fuller development. If you wanted a narra- 
tive poem or a drama they had provided not simply a keel, 
'l)ut ribs and braces too, for your venture, and yet all the 
details were left for your own talent to supply. The 
book's repute must have been furthered by the gallery of 
emperors, whose names added ballast to the tales, and hall- 


marked each with a tag which made it easy to remember. 
The value was increased by the remarkable variety of the 
g^tes — legend, romance, novella, fairy story, fable — not 
only the favorite medieval types, but also many of the fa- 
vorite stories being there included. Yet this last advan- 
tage might be urged for other collections, notably the Al- 
phabetum Narrationum, attributed formerly to £tienne 
de Besanqon, and translated in this period. But the real 
worth of the Gesta Romanorum is that no book in the fif- 
teenth century, and perhaps only one later, hits so well the 
nice balance between fact and imagination which a collec- 
tion of memorable stories should possess if they are to be 
used for later and nK)re imaginative work. 

Short narrative of the unadorned, inartistic variety pro- 
duced no other famous book either in Scotland or Eng- 
land in this period. Therefore, we pass on quickly to the 
craftsmen in the art who, following Chaucer, were trying 
to write narrative of a value not entirely to be measured 
by the excellence of the plot. These men, the leading 
writers, almost the only accomplished writers of their 
day, were Lydgate and Occleve in England, and, a little 
later, the more original Henryson and Dunbar in the 
Scotch North. 

Lydgate was ordained a priest in 1397, three years 
before Chaucer is supposed to have died, and it is certain 
that he lived well on to the middle of the fifteenth cen- 
tury. The enormous amount of verse of all kinds, ex- 
cept the very good, which he produced in his lifetime 
makes it impossible not to join, though for different rea- 
sons, with his contemporaries and immediate successors in 
assigm'ng him an important place in his literary generation. 


A high level in poetry, and in story-telling, had just been 
reached. No genius arriving to lift it higher, the strenuous 
workman, who sincerely imitated what he could not ex- 
ceed or equal, was invaluable, for he kept his generation 
aware of a great past. Such a worker was Lydgate, and 
his accomplishment was like the wall of sand which the 
child builds frantically about his pool lest all the water 
run back before the advancing tide brings in the new 

Although but a small portion of Lyd gate's work is 
imitative of the Chaucerian short story, yet in this portion 
his services as a conservator are even more notable than 
elsewhere. The style and method of the greater story- 
teller are always evident — utility aside, too evident. The 
elaboration, the visualizing, the comment, which made 
Chaucer's narrative so much better than the old lais and 
fabliaux, is always consciously striven for, and sometimes 
attained. Hope of success never rests entirely with the 
plot, and proper names do not serve for characters. The 
tale is told with an eye for its beauty or effectiveness, 
while the circumstances of real life appear whenever they 
are needed — and the author is able to command them. 

Lydgate's reputation as a teller of short stories must 
probably stand or fall with the Fabula Duorum Mer- 
catorum, and The Chorle and the Bird, 

The first of these is the more ambitious, and perhaps the 
better. Its source is presumably the tale of the two 
friends in the Gesta Romanorum, and, both in adherence 
to the good plot, and in freedom of contraction and ex- 
pansion, it presents an admirable example of how a source 
should be regarded. The novella is often to be met 
again in English. Lydgate makes 910 lines of it, at least 


a third too long. He reaches this bulk, in part, by the 
good English fashion of moralizing by the wayside on 
fortune and her wiles, but also by a dilly-dallying over 
his phrases, which betrays too surely the imitator disregard- 
ing sense in his delight at reproducing the sound of a 
glorious style. Realism there is to some extent, though 
only of scene and paraphernalia, as in '' meedwys fressh of 
flowres," ** somer • . . tapited al in greene " ; pomp and 
circimistance of phrase are to be found as never before the 
master, Chaucer. But with this, all is said. Lydgate 
stumbles in the path made for him. One looks for humor 
unsuccessfully, for pathos, and finds only imitation misery, 
for the dramatic, and discovers that the great renunciation, 
which one might suppose the Baldac merchant must make 
when he steps boldly forward to die for his friend, is passed 
over without recognition of its possible eflFectiveness. The 
virtues of a weak imitator of a good style are Lydgate's in 
this poem, and scarcely any others. " On my rewde tellyng 
of curtesye ye rewe," he says at the end, making just the 
wrong criticism upon his work. Rude he never is, nor 
vigorous, nor original, but smooth in phrase, if halting in 
rhythm, elegant, if never virile. Like the novelists of the 
late nineteenth century he presents a high polish on a poor 

Little can be added to this criticism from the other 
short stories. Rich verse seldom fails, and sometimes rises 
into beauty. For phrasing alone is The Chorle and the 
Bird notable. It is an old Eastern fable, highly didactic, 
told not in the vivacious fashion of The Nun's Priest's 
Tale, but in the sophistical style of The Romaunt of the 
Rose, and a very adequate story of its artificial and 
precious kind: 


" To syng hir complyn and than go to rest ; 
And at the rysing of the qttene Alcest, 
To synge agayne» as was hir due." 

Such rich verse is more successful, because less weari- 
some, In Lydgate's still shorter narratives; for instance, in 
the excellent Mary-story of Dane Joos^ which runs 
charmingly, "That only my rudenes thy miracle nat 

But when all is said, Lydgate is not a good story-teller. 
In spite of his rich commentary upon plot and character, 
and his glimmering appreciation of "atmosphere," he is 
not so good a narrator as old Gower. His prime fault 
lies in the literary sense which was at the same time his 
saving virtue. Like the Elizabethan novella-writers, he 
was too anxious to adorn. He thought by phrases, or by 
stanzas, not by episodes. Hence his stories drag, are over- 
laden with rhetoric, and fail to catch fire at the climaxes. 
The crudities of his verse make this defect more pro- 
nounced, for while he caught at the phrase of his master's 
work he never learned its rhythm. His lines are monoton- 
ous, no verse movement carries the reader forward, and it 
is usually easier to stop than to go on. The stories men- 
tioned in these paragraphs are only " school pieces," and 
have just the defects and the virtues which the use of this 
art term must ever imply. 

Thomas Occleve, or Hoccleve, has been usually 
bracketed with his contemporary, Lydgate, for much the 
same reason that two authors went together into The 
Dunciad, The two men, in fact, are utterly different in 
all respects but one, and that is their common imitation 
of Chaucer. 


If Occleve had only been as much interested in other 
people as in himself, he might have given us some famous 
narratives. In his dialogues and confessions he is a perfect 
Pepys. No shame withholds him from recounting how 
he stuffed, drank, and made after the girls, " that so goodly 
so shaply were, and feir " ; or how pleased he was when 
the boatmen called him " maister." He has an eye for 
London life and considerable freshness in describing it. 
Furthermore, his personality, querulous, and rather con- 
temptible though it is, makes itself felt in his style with 
results not common in Lydgate, or, indeed, in the middle 
ages. But Occleve imitated the style, and only the style, 
of the master in his story-telling. He might have dupli- 
cated in petto the lively personages of Chaucer's stories. 
He did not, perhaps because of his narrow egoism. The 
little failings, the lovable virtues, which make the in- 
dividual, were interesting to Occleve only when they 
were his own, and there was usually no room for Oc- 
cleve in the plot ! 

Hence it is that his accomplishment in narrative (we 
may pass over the trivial exempla of The Regement of 
Princes) is limited to two good tales, one added to his 
Dialogue (about 1421), the other written at the further 
solicitation of the friend who had suggested the first. 
Both are from the Gesta Romanorum, and very faithful 
verse renderings of their source. 

The first is the story of the wife of Jereslaus {Gesta 
Romanorum, LXix.). This new version of the Constance 
story is told in verse that, for all its baitings, moves more 
speedily than Lydgate's; and if the author is not so suc- 
cessful in reproducing the rich beauty of Chaucer's phras- 
ing, his poetry less seldom gives forth the empty sound 


of palpable imitation. A freshness of diction creeps in 
sometimes, with good efiEect: 

" And yit this wikkid man this Seneschal, 
Meeved was werse and to fulfill it thoghte; 
He dide his might and his peyne total. 
And alle weyes serchid he & soghte. 
And to brynge it aboute he faste wroghte, 
Al-thogh he faillid at preef and assay; 
He was knyt up with a wommanly nay." 

But in the story proper there is much less originality than 
in Lydgate's Two Merchants. The imagination has less 
play, the inventive faculty none at all, and the end is left 
a tissue of improbabilities. Ocdeve, in this instance, is 
only a polisher, another Dryden, though that he has bet- 
tered, not worsened, his subject, must be gladly admitted. 

The story of Jonathas {Gesta Romanorum, xlvl) is 
not so good a tale, but gains otherwise the same critical 
conmients. It is a careful translation, which is far better 
phrased than its original, and occasionally much improved 
by the greater volubility given to various members of the 
cast. But Occleve has no real genius for story-telling. 
Here is a story provided with famous paraphernalia of 
magic adventure. All it needs is a decent plot in order to 
utilize the magic properties of ring, cloth, and brooch. In 
the original Gesta narrative the idiotic Jonathas runs his 
head three times into the same trap. A story-teller of 
mediocre talent would have varied that trap, while elabo- 
rating the narrative — perhaps made Pellicula (the Delilah 
of the story) really artful, but Occleve does not alter it. 
In a typically medieval fashion, he takes his plot as he 
finds it, makes the narrative more vivid, and that is alL 

In sum, Occleve is a conservator, like Lydgate, and die 


meed of praise must be given him not so much for what 
he did as for what he tried to do. The smooth, Chaucerian 
meter, the beautiful phrase, the freedom of touch were all 
difficult. His genius was limited. He did his best to 
achieve the proper literary style and left the substance of 
his story to the Gesta Romanorum. 

"Yis, Thomas, 3ris thow hast a good entente. 
But thy werk hard is to parfourme, I dreede." 

With Lydgate and Occleve, the Chaucerian nuumer 
of story-telling comes to its end in England. It is true 
that verse stories, of a kind most resembling those of The 
Legende of Good Women, increase in popularity with 
the early sixteenth century, but the application of highly 
finished verse to realistic narrative goes out of fashion, or 
beyond the power of the new generation. The Eliza- 
bethans call upon the great name, but they seldom honor 
him by imitation. An intellectual reaction after the false 
dawn of the first renaissance, the poverty and distraction 
which wait upon civil war, alike left the soil af the late 
fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries in England too lean 
and sterile for the seeds of this rich heritage. 

It was different in Scotland. Northumbria had lagged 
behind the southern provinces in literary production ever 
since the Danes had destroyed the early supremacy of cul- 
ture in the North, and the Scottish portion had been 
most backward of all. Only with Barbour, Chaucer's 
contemporary, did a worthy literature begin again. Then, 
in the fifteenth century, the stimulus of the English liter- 
ary revival reached the North, and the " makirs," who in 
that period began to acquire the fashion of Chaucerian 


narrative, were given the inestimable advantage of those 
who work with a well-developed literary sense in a fresh 
and unhackneyed tongue. The hand, in the case of the 
two representative poets now to be considered, is often 
the hand of Chaucer, but the voice is the voice of the 
highly original genius of the Scots. 

If James I of Scotland wrote The King*s Quair, his 
authorship of a poem in Scottish, at once so highly Chau- 
cerian and so highly original, is characteristic of the Scot- 
tish poets in the fifteenth century. His bodily captivity 
in England (1405-1424) may be likened to their mental 
captivity to Chaucer, and the considerable originality of 
his poem is more than equalled in their works. The short 
narrative of the Scotch Chaucerians is as fresh as Lyd- 
gate's and Occleve's is stale. Next to Burns, Dunbar is 
often called the greatest of Scotch poets. Henryson, after 
Chaucer, is the best teller of stories in medieval English. 

Master Robert Henryson was probably a schoolmaster 
in Dumfermline; quite certainly he is that Venerable 
Master Henryson who was admitted a member of the 
University of Glasgow in 1462; and assuredly a poet 
highly esteemed by his contemporaries, since Dunbar puts 
him in his Lament for the Death of the Makaris. 

The man himself was clerical, so much one judges from 
the moralizing in his works; yet ready with that tender 
emotion in the presence of pathos or of beauty which dis- 
tinguishes the artist from the preacher; rich, too, in the 
humor that is half satire and half sympathy. He would 
have understood why Falstaff, having more flesh than 
other men, should plead more frailty. Above all, he was 
one of those rare authors whose personality transfuses their 


The depth, the vigor, and the variety in this personality 
is to be gathered from the astonishing versatility of his 
work. The first pastoral in the language, Robene and 
Makyne, is to be accredited to him. His Orpheus and 
Eurydice, a half-lyrical poem, is a good example of the 
literary myth. In The Bludy Serk he revives an old 
novella of the religious collections, and gives it a con- 
clusion far more artistic, a form much more beautiful, and 
a strange, pseudo-romantic atmosphere which suggests the 
nineteenth century. Such part of his reputation as does 
not rest upon his pastoral comes from an experiment in 
still another kind of narrative, the wonderful Testament 
of Cresseid, a poem whose merits are in no danger of 
exaggeration. This last is a chapter added to Chaucer's 
Troilus, and so lacks both the unity and the totality of 
the short story, but its excellencies are only obscured, not 
lessened, by the subordination to a more famous poem. 
The quaint, personal humor of the poet changes to pathos, 
yet reveals itself in homelier form by touches of familiar 
reality as poignant as those which distinguish his fables. 
With " cop and clapper " the lost leper waits by the way- 
side, until Troilus, riding by with great lords of Troy, 
sees in her marred face the memory " of fair Cresseid, 
sumytime his awin darling." And yet " not ane ane uther 
knew." Add to these The Fables, his principal contribu- 
tion to short narrative, and the total is a wealth of story 
b'nds and a strength in narrative art worth boasting of. 

The originality of style which comes only when a very 
positive personality seeks expression is most to be found in 
this group of fables, in which Henryson most fully ex- 
hibits his genius as a teller of short stories. Nor will 
these trifling, humorous narratives yield precedence in 


artistic worth except to his masterpiece in the serious vein, 
Cresseid. The fable, like Pan's pipe, is an instriiment 
which serves all varieties of performers, and will be good, 
bad, or indifferent according to the genius of the user. 
Most writers of the middle ages, content with the tradi- 
tional nutshell plots, were willing to draw a dividend only 
upon its powers of illustration. Not so with the witty and 
sarcastic medievals who built up the great animal epic of 
Reynard the Fox from fable and fable-like material, for 
they realized much more than a moral from the irony 
latent in the lives of beasts. The author of The Fox and 
the Wolf was heir to this tradition, and Chaucer, in his 
story of Pertelote, brought its possibilities to a very per- 
fect consummation. Henryson, too, draws from the fox 
epic, though his medium was probably a Latin collection. 
But, like Chaucer, he recreates his story. And with 
Chaucer himself, and with La Fontaine, he belongs among 
those writers who, gifted with humor, with insight, and 
with literary skill, expended them all upon the despised 
fable. In English he has no other peer, for Gay, in com- 
parison, is a dilettante. 

Indeed, it is diiScult to restrain one's enthusiasm over 
these almost unpraised fables. Genuine humor is so rare 
in the middle ages ; coarseness so often passes for wit ; mere 
quaintness for the craftsman's diction I And this Dum- 
fermline schoolmaster has the qualities of the consummate 
artist, an ease of accomplishment, an economy of material 
— for 124 pages in Laing's edition suiSce for two pro- 
logues and thirteen fables almost as rich in reflected char- 
acter as Chaucer's fabliaux^ — ^finally a realism which is 
almost startling after the rhetoric of Lydgate and Occleve. 
Furthermore, his wit is a wit of incongruity and contrast, 


each keen and fresh, his quaintness such that it must have 
been quaint even in his own day. In description, he 
strikes ofiE figures that stick in the memory, 

"The nicht wes lycht, and pennyfull the Mone." 

His diction has a racy vigor that reminds one of Burns, 

" With that the Meir (mare) gird him upon the gummes.** 

Nor in those ornamental descriptions of Flora green, so 
popular in the fifteenth century, does he fail to exceed the 
general by a touch of real nature, 

" I passit f urth, syne lukit to and fro ; 
To se the soill that wes richt sessonabhil, 
Sappie, and to resaif all seidis abill." 

or, more beautifully, 

" Quhen Columbine up keikis throw the clay." 

These fables are cast in " rime royal," perhaps in 
deference to the lEsop of the second prologue, who is no 
longer slave, as in the usual tradition, but poet laureate 
in gpwn white as milk. The noble verse gives a pleasing 
dignity to the homely matter-of-fact of the beast stories. 
In the prologues, and in The Preaching of the Swallow, 
it is adorned with all the pomp of phrase which these 
Scots learned from Chaucer and then enriched by the 
excessive alliteration beloved in the North. The best 
fables, however, are simple, melodious, rhythmic, even 
though, for Southern ears, a little harsh and cold : 


Thocht fenyeit Fabillis of auld Poetrie, 
Be nocht all groundit upon treuth, jrit than 

Thair polite tenuis of sweit Rhetoric 
Richt pleasandar unto the eir of man." 


In every case the fable ends with a " moralitee," more 
often political than religious; occasionally, indeed, re- 
vealing the story as a tract on the times. And just as 
with La Fontaine, the moralities are the poorest parts 
of the fables, because they alone are unnecessary. 

It is seldom that the absolute need of extensive quo- 
tation is more pressing than in the case of these little 
stories. Their transcendent quality is humor, a humor 
equally sustained, as deep as character, and as calm as 
Shakespeare's in the middle comedies. It is expressed 
in diction that wings the shaft, and is not difficult for 
one who can read Burns and Chaucer. Quotation ex- 
tensive enough to do justice to Henryson, is impossible, 
but the fables themselves are accessible to make good 
the injuries of a little excerption. 

Lanson, the French critic and historian of literature, 
speaks of ** the sense of reality " which La Fontaine 
possesses and profits by. Such a sense of reality makes 
possible the delightful incongruity of Henryson's crown- 
ing version of the old Horatian The Town and the 
Country Mouse. When the country cousin brings out 
nuts and peas the town mouse " prompit furth in pryde." 
" Rude dyet " does not agree with her. This fare will 
break her teeth. But the country mouse is " bon bour- 
geois." She offers her best with "a blyith and merie 
cheir," that should make even this provision " amang 
freindis, richt tender and wonder gude." The city mouse, 
" hevilie scho kest hir browis doun. . . . Lat be this 
hole, and cum into my place ; . . . My Gude Friday is 
better nor your Pace ; my dische weschingis is worth your 
haill expence." So they go to town where, " Lordes fair 
thus couth they coimterfeit Except ane thing they drank 


the watter clear in steid of wyne, hot yit thay maid gude 
cheir." Tragic doings follow. In comes the steward 
and his cat. Rout and confusion, till " How fair ye 
sister? cry pcip, quhair ever ye be!" pipes the burgess 
mouse, to which her sister answers, " Almychty God, keip 
me fra sic ane feist," and trudges back to her little den, 

"Als warme as well, suppose it wes nocht greit» 
Full beinly stufRt, baith but and ben, 
Of beinis, and nuttis, pels, ry, and quheit." 

Even in these few lines, snatched rudely from their con- 
text, appears some of the charm of the style, the mellow 
humor of the author, the cogency of his portraits. 

Less quaint, and more witty, is The Taill of Schir 
Chantecleir and the Foxe, in which Henryson has dared 
retell the Nun's Priest's story. Quotation proves that 
he knew the Canterbury tales, but this narrative is taken 
from a " fabill " which was certainly not Chaucer's. 
And yet, outside of Chaucer, one is at loss to find an 
Englishman who has spiritualized (in the French sense) 
a simple story with such effect. From some delightful 
comer of Scotch fancy Henryson brought three names 
for the wives of Chantecleer: Pertok, Sprutok, and 
Toppok. Chantecleer has been stolen by the fox : 

« t 

Allace/ quod Pertok, makand sair murning, 

• • • • • 

'Yone wes our drowrie, and our dayis darling. 

I if 

But Sprutok is no such sentimentalist. " Ceis sister of 
your sorrow," she says, " We sail fair weill." 


I will put on my haly dayis claithis, 
And mak me fresche agane this jolie May, 
And chant this sang, 'wes never wedow sa gay.' 


He wes angrie and held us ay in aw, 
And woundit with the speir of jelowsie 

• ••■•» 

Waistit he wes, of nature cauld and dry." 

Pertok, it seems, had only been expressing what she con- 
sidered sentiments proper for the occasion. Now she 
gives, in terms more forcible than nice, her real opinion 
of her spouse's merits as a husband. But the third wife 
is the moralist: 

"Than Toppok lyke ane curate spak full crous: 
'Yone wes ane verray vengeance from the hevin; 

He wes sa lous, and sa lecherous; 

He had/ quod scho, 'kittokis ma than sevin; 

Bot rychteous God, haldand the balandis evin, 

Smytis richt sair, thocht he be patient. 

For adulterie that will thame nocht repent 

• • • • • 

Thairfoir it is the verray hand of God 
That causit him be werryit with the Tod.'" 

*^ I smelle a LoUer in the wind/' the Host might say 
of this. Here is Scotch Fresbyterianism cackling before 
it is hatched I However, with this the widow comes to, 
the dogs are set on the fox, Chantecleer escapes by a new 
stratagem, and so the tale ends. La Fontaine is more 
polished, Chaucer is subtler and more exquisite, but no 
writer has been more truly humorous than Henryson in 
this interlude of Pertok, Sprutok, and Toppok. 

The next fable is excellent in still another way. The 
fox, Lowrence, after his disappointment, lies hidden till 
** he micht se the tuinkling sternis cleir.'' Like Chaucer's 
cock, Lowrence " by nature knew . , . eche ascensioun " 
— " teichit of nature be instruction," Henryson puts it 
reminisccntly — and soon learns from the stars that *' with 


mischeif m3mgit " is his mortal fate. '' ' Allace/ quod he, 
' richt waryit ar we theifis/ " and at that moment spies 
" Freir Wolf " with beads in hand, saying his Pater 
Noster. The " lene cheik," the " paill piteous face " 
of the wolf shows his " perfite halines." On his knees 
falls the fox devoutly. "Art thou contrite?" asks the 
wolf-confessor. But how can the fox be so, — *^ hennis ar 
sa honie sweit." — " * Will thow forbeir in tyme to cum, 
and mend? 'And I forbeir, how sail I leif, allace?'" 
Take penance ! — G)nsider his complexion, silly, weak, and 
tender. Yet so it were light and short and not grieving 
" to my tendemes " he will take penance, " to set my 
selie saull in way of grace." The wolf forbids flesh till 
Easter, and Lowrie departs to catch a kid and duck him 
in the stream — ** Ga doun, Schir Kid, cum up Schir 
Salmond agane." 

The " moralitas " of this fable is instructive. The 
sudden death of the fox ("tod" is the Scottish name) 
follows the theft of the kid, and is used in this " moral- 
itas " as a warning to the folk that they should amend. 
Alas, there was something of Tod Lawrence in Henry- 
son! The real moral of the fable inevitably suggests 
itself as you read. Do not trifle with Providence, one 
reads between the lines, even with the church behind you I 

These three must illustrate the manner of the other 
fables, some of which are superlative in the keenness of 
their characterization. There is only room to fllch from 
The Lyoun and the Mous, by way of conclusion, three 
lines to make clearer still the wonderful descriptive power 
of the Scotchman's language: 

" Swa come ane trip of Myis out of thair nest, 
Rycht tait and trig, all dansand in ane gyis, 
And over the Lyoun lansit twyis or thryis." 


Not much remains to be added to these extracts and 
comments in order to emphasize the importance of the 
place which Henryson should hold in early English litera- 
ture; yet its nature should be somewhat defined. In the 
history of literature the writer of good short stories stands 
forth either for his technical skill and originality in hand- 
ling his chosen form of expression; or for the influence 
his work exerts upon successors; or for that residuum of 
personality which, as Lanson puts it, remains when from 
his writings has been subtracted all that belongs, " a la 
race, au milieu, au moment," and to " la continuite de 
revolution du genre." Chaucer's fame rests upon all these 
qualities. Henryson is technically excellent, but not so 
to the point of great originality. His influence is not 
easily traceable, although it may well have a share in 
that tradition of homely realism, and of a close observation 
of nature, which has well nigh ever since belonged to the 
poets of the " northern lede." But his quaint and de- 
lightful spirit, his sensitiveness to pathos and to humor, 
make him a personality in literature, and thus one of a 
genus rare in all periods, rarest in his own late middle ages. 
It is personality that gives the feeling heart which, with 
the seeing eye, makes the great story-teller. The seeing 
eye imparts the rare power of imaginative insight into 
the actions which stand for character. It was that which 
made Stevenson write of the monster, Hyde, trampling 
on the fallen child. But even more important is the 
feeling heart that knows which to retain of all the vivid 
whirl of events driving through the imagination. Here 
is a test of essential genius, and it is by means of a 
successful choice that the warm sympathy of a Cervantes, 
or a Shakespeare, or a Chaucer, beams out in some little 


phrase or incident Of this rare humor, perhaps no writer 
before the Elizabethan dramatists possessed so much as 
Henryson, save only his master, Chaucer, In force, in fire, 
and possibly in beauty of verse, Dunbar exceeds him, as 
his own Cresseid certainly exceeds the fables of which we 
make so much. In pathos, Gower, never his superior, 
is sometimes his equal. In satire of the cudgeling variety, 
Langland is more proficient. But in the kindly humor, 
that plays about the little things of life, and shows us 
men's hearts as often as not under the control of their 
spleens or their stomachs, in this humor the Scottish story- 
teller has won the title of " Maister," which tradition, 
for another cause, has given to him. 

William Dunbar, called the chief poet of medieval 
Scotland, was at his prime within the reign of James IV 
(1489-15 13). But though even more various in compo- 
sition, more powerful in verse, and of greater influence 
upon succeeding poets than our Henryson, Dunbar is 
by no means so notable a figure in the history of narrative. 
His great achievements lie in satire, and in the ornate 
allegory which lived on in memory of The Romaunt of 
the Rose. Either he lacked that mysterious sense of form 
which rhetoricians are so fond of talking about, or, what 
is more probable, good story-telling was either too re- 
strained, or too unadorned, to please his genius. Be that 
as it may, only three poems of his considerable volume, 
and one of these doubtfully his, belong in the evolution 
of the story. 

One of them is certainly the most considerable piece 
of Billingsgate, and perhaps the most bare-faced satire, 
in the language. As has often been nbted, Dunbar was 

(evil both) that would suppl; 
fabliaux. Three women discw 
periences, with shame and resc 
the conversation: 


I have ane wallidrag, ane won 
A waistit wolroun, na worth b< 

This is the matter of the fabliat 
What Dunbar might have don 
ous story is indicated by the in 
Kittok. Here is a clear buries 
done in the style and with the 
the Seven Deadly Sins. It is 
the essential points are used, 
nothing else, resembles a ballad 
thirst and, still thirsty, stopped 
heaven. Early in the morning s 
" God lukit et saw hir lattin, et 1 

"And thar, yens se\ 
Scho lewit a gud lii 


came again to the gate, " Sanct Petir hat hir with a dub." 
So she brews and bakes at the ale-house; 

"Frendis, I pray you hertfully, 
Gif ye be thristy or dry, 
Drink with my Guddame, as ye ga by." 

The chief arguments for Dunbar's authorship of The 
Freiris of Berwik are that it is included in the Bannatyne 
manuscript, and that there is no other known poet of 
the time capable of such excellent verse. Neither argu- 
ment is quite satisfactory. One misses the fierce flyting 
of Dunbar. A gentler irony, though pungent enough, 
takes its place, and, as a satire, the piece is much more 
in the vein of Henryson's fables. Furthermore, it is an 
excellent story, in Chaucer's best fabliau style, and in so 
good a form that it would seem that if Dunbar could 
have done it once he would, among his multifarious 
writings, have done it again. 

The plot itself has been used elsewhere. The author 
of the version which appears in this manuscript was 
certainly a Scotchman, for he begins with an enthusiastic 
description of Berwick, " moist fair, most gudly, most 
plesand to be sene." Then appear two friars on their 
rounds, " rycht wondir weill plesit thai all wyflSs." 
Weary and late they ask for lodgings at the house of a 
" blyith wyf . . . sumthing dynk and dengerous." To 
be brief, they are put into a loft, and through a hole see 
the better reception given to friar John of a rival abbey, 
who comes to play while the husband is absent. Of 
course the husband returns. Friar John is hid, the two 
get themselves invited to the dinner prepared for him, 
and send John off, " laith to cum agane.'* In spirit, and 



in fashion of telling, the story is like Chaucer's tale of 
the miller, quite as delightful, quite as indecent, and 
ending with a summary strongly reminiscent of the Eng* 
lishman's terse conclusion. It is not so humorous, not 
so rich, by no means so graceful metrically, yet with a 
realism and a dialogue not much inferior. If the friar, 
whose name is Allane, is not the Oxford Alayne of 
Chaucer's tale, come back to his North again, but speak- 
ing and acting much as in college days — 3. good guess is 
wasted I Dunbar, or not, the author of this poem has 
given us the best English fabliau outside of Chaucer. 

Lyndsay, the next of the Scottish story-tellers, lived 
in the dawn of the renaissance, and his only notable 
narrative. The Historie of Squyer Meldrum, is as near 
in spirit to the prose romance of the renaissance as to 
the medieval verse tales it imitates. He wrote no short 
narratives, and, therefore, with Dunbar and with Henry- 
son, we can fitly close the first great epoch of English 
short-story telling. They are the last bloom of what 
had been the French style. A new impulse and a new 
t3n;)e is urgently needed, and both come with the ap- 
proaching renaissance. 







ENGLISH literature was at low ebb in the early 
sixteenth century, and the tide carried the short 
narrative lowest of all. From Chaucer in the fourteenth 
to Henryson in the fifteenth century, it had absorbed more 
than a common share of the genius of the age, but, among 
the few eminent writers in the succeeding hundred years, 
none use it The drift to prose had given the language 
great models of narrative style in Berners' Froissart and 
Malory's Morte D' Arthur, so that the medieval romance 
gained a respite from oblivion, but the short narrative 
either remained in verse and became vulgar, or was 
condensed into rough prose for inclusion in the new jest- 
books. In truth, the fabliaux, the exempla, and the fables 
were stale, flat, and unprofitable for transformation into 
literature of high quality. 

Fresh vigor, indeed, was to be found in only one form 
of narrative in this dusty period between the first and the 
second English renaissance. The popular ballad begins 
to come into the light of history at about this time, and 
reveals springs of story as refreshing as the degenerate 
literary tales are flat. But this popular wealth contributed 
very little to the fiction of the renaissance. Its chief 
value is lyrical and is better estimated elsewhere. 




The cultivation of no native form of English short 
narrative could have been attended, in this early sixteenth 
century, with that indispensable quality of vigor and 
novelty which a flourishing literature must possess. The 
romance and the fabliau were outworn, the contes devots 
blighted by approaching Protestantism, and only a sophis- 
ticated society like our own could suck literary enthusiasm 
from the ballad. A new form was needed, and came, 
as usual, from without, borne in, as in earlier periods, 
by the wave of a new culture. The renaissance brought 
the Italian novella with it, a new kind of short story, 
well adapted to fill the place left vacant by the decadence 
of the medieval varieties. Knowing The Decameron, 
one might prophesy a warm welcome to the newcomer 
from readers who had nothing better in the way of prose 
short narrative than what the jest-books provided, but 
the avid interest awakened, the speedy and complete 
domestication, the really prodigious part played by this 
new short story in the greatest period of English literature 
now arriving, exceeds all reasonable expectations, and 
justifies a discussion of its nature and origin. 

In the beginning, the novella in Italy was very much 
the same as the short prose stories, usually humorous and 
reflective, which were current in Latin all over medieval 
Europe. The thirteenth century, Italian Novellino, oldest 
of preserved collections, differs very little from Wright's 
Latin Stories, gathered mainly from manuscripts of about 
the same century, except that it is in the vulgar, and is 
less obviously a mere storehouse of plots. But with 
Boccaccio the divergence begins. In common with all his 


successors, he gave to this prose story a harmonious devel- 
opment, which kept within simplicity, and yet emphasized 
all the gpod points of the plot. Furthermore, Boccaccio 
endowed it with something lacking before, style, and thus 
safely established it in literature. The result was not 
inconsiderable. While the fabliau died because the taste 
for such crudity departed, and Chaucer's literary trans- 
formation was too difficult to be imitated widely, even 
if it had been widely known outside of England, the prose 
short narrative spread like a new fashion through the 
Italian towns. Every conununity, bustling with the new 
life of the renaissance, could supply the little local color 
and much intrigue required, and any writer with a narra- 
tive sense and some style could finish off the story. Or, 
if modern instances were lacking, there was all the ancient 
supply of good stories and tragic episodes, to be Italianized, 
or retold in the novella manner. 

The brief and pungent form seemed to be exactly 
adapted to the period, and to the excitable people who 
were living in a year a German decade. Life was the 
subject, and in this the novella was broader than the 
fabliau, lot it dealt with all active humanity, whether 
humorous, tragic, or sordid. The story was seldom with- 
out a reflection upon human nature, and never merely 
romantic. It was told for true, and the simple style, 
SFree from much analysis, and sparing of intimate dialogue, 
favored the impression of actual experience. Thus, quite 
naturally, while appreciation of ancient literature was 
flowing into Latin eclogues, orations, and lyrics, and 
imitation of ancient art was producing pastoral and epic, 
the stirring life of the Italian cities, which led the world 
in amunerce as well as in education, and in courtesy as 


in intrigue, poured into countless novelle, and inspired 
a host of story-tellers from the earliest renaissance till 
long after Italy fell into decay. 

The first successful imitation of the novella was in 
France, where the prose conte, 2l short narrative, piquant, 
realistic, in simple but pungent style, took the place of 
the fabliau, which had gone the way of all medievalism. 
Boccaccio set the example for the first conteurs of merit, 
and many Italian plots, and more indications of Italian 
methods appear in the first collections. Les Cent Nouvelles 
Nouvelles, the Heptameron of the queen of Navarre, the 
tales of Noel du Faill, of Bonaventure Desperiers, to go 
from the fifteenth through the sixteenth century, all 
belong in this category, and represent the adoption of a 
simple, yet vivid, and often exquisite short story, to reflect 
the interests of the age. 

This great body of novelle, in French and Italian, 
was thus, above everything, a literature of the renaissance. 
It is surcharged with life, and the popularity of its 
stories largely resulted from the reawakened interest in 
the passions of man as exhibited in the active life of a 
civilized community. That which pretty definitely marks 
off the narratives of these Italians and their French 
followers, from the tales of the middle ages (always 
excepting Chaucer's), is the interest in personality, in 
the passions, or in the intellect, which colors the slightest 
intrigues in all but the thinnest novelle, 


In sixteenth century England, two centuries after the 
novella had begun in Italy, the stir of the renaissance 
was first troubling the universities, and the vivid life of 


the peninsula had commenced to attract English youths 
southwards, to send them home again ** Italianate," With 
the interest in a fresh ideal of life, and only with it, 
came in the new short story. Indeed, the novelle of 
the sixteenth century were like those little religious stories 
which ^fric and other ancient churchmen brought into 
our tongue, each story enclosing a more or less pure 
extract of Christian culture, Christian piety, or Christian 
hope, and thus gaining a hearing which their story interest 
would not always have secured. An elixir of new 
courtesy, new philosophy, new civilization came in with 
the novelle; according to angry preachers, a new morality 
also; and all of these, the last not least, made them 
welcome in England in the same measure as the cultural 
movement of which they were a part. 

It is perfectly apparent, of course, to any reader of 
the early translations, that the Elizabethans were chiefly 
interested in these stories because in them were to be 
found the most vivid pictures of the interesting life of 
the South. A strong moral bent (usually very much 
bent), a pompous assertion of historical worth, cannot 
deceive the readers of Painter and Fenton. In their 
collections are to be found the most tragic, the most sen- 
sational actions which could be selected from the novellieri. 
They turn aside from the beffe, or practical-joke stories, 
and greedily accentuate the dark and gloomy horrors of 
passionate intrigue. Life, more life, is what they wished 
very evidently, and the intenser the better. But the 
Elizabethans were by no means content to restrict their 
versions of the Italian novelle to the narrow limits set 
for the originals. In England the short story had to 
bear the whole burden of the renaissance. Erudition, 


discourses upon various subjects quite foreign to the plot, 
a highly rhetorical style certainly never learned from The 
Decameron or from Bandello, these phenomena appear 
in the Elizabethan novella, and make it clear that the 
traveled and often highly educated gentlemen, who were 
the authors of most of the English narratives, were in- 
terested in the humanism as well as the human nature 
of the renaissance. The brevity of the novella they 
tempered with discussions and preaching, its simplicity 
they adorned with rhetorical flourishes, and packed the 
narrative with the spoils of a literature even more charac- 
teristic of the period than the racy story with which they 

In order to comprehend the strange story kind which 
resulted, one must take into account the source of these 
additions to the simple and purely narrative novella. 
This source was the literature of the humanists. The 
men who deserve that name were leaders in the revival 
of learning, and promulgators of that new ideal of living 
which was the renaissance. Their literature is marked 
by an erudition natural enough in the work of students 
of dead ages. It is filled with the discussions and 
arguments which accompany a new movement. Further- 
more, it is adorned with a rhetoric spnmg from the 
attempt to imitate or to rival the masterpieces of the 
ancient civilization which they admired. Nothing could 
be more different from the typical novella, even when 
written by a humanist like Boccaccio, than was this more 
direct product of the renaissance. 

A habit of mingling a seasoning of classical reference 
with all writing, until, in many cases, the result is like 
a curry where the spice outtastes the meat, was the most 


evident characteristic of this literature. Allusions to 
the classics, and quotations therefrom were, however, by 
no means unfamiliar in earlier writing. Thus the interest 
in all that concerned the relations between man and 
society, in everything expressed by manners in the broad- 
est and deepest sense of the word, is a more important 
feature of this humanist literature. Life was to be re- 
modeled, beliefs, customs, everything from morality to 
table manners made over. An infinite discussion was 
demanded and freely given. The movement produced 
abundant adventures in philosophy; it gave rise to such 
reconsiderations of old matters as Machiavelli*s Prince; 
furthermore, in Italy, the main source of all, it inspired 
treatises whose special subject was the discussion of man- 
ners in the broad sense assigned to the word. Here we 
can turn for an example of the kind of literature which 
was in the mind of the Englishman when he dropped 
the story for discourse. The best of all instances because 
popular, typical, and excellent, is Castiglione's Courtier, 
completed in 15 16, published in 1528, Englished by 
Hoby in 1561. In the mountain court of Urbino a 
group of cultured men and women (historical all of 
them, Bembo one) discuss the qualities of the ideal 
courtier, or, as we should put it, man in public service. 
Clearly, sanely, and with much beauty, the problems of 
the new life are debated one by one, and all with reference 
to the stores of science and philosophy which scholarship 
had made accessible. This is the very stuff which the 
Elizabethans put into their stories; and, although The 
Courtier is mentioned and pillaged often enough, this 
gpod book of Castiglione's is but a compendious example 
of a kind of writing which was common in oration, dia- 


logue, letter, and treatise, whether in Italian or in Latin, 
in short, in all that humanistic literature which made up 
the most vital part of the reading of the Englishman 
of the latter half of the sixteenth century. The gentle- 
men scholars who did most of the rewriting of novelle 
for English readers were quite capable of an insular and 
original twist in the discourses with which they embel- 
lished their originals, but it was from this literature of 
the Italians and their imitators that they borrowed most 
of their ideas, and it was through such reading, apparently, 
that they were obsessed by that concern for manners 
which gave rise to so many of their unending debates. 

In Italy, the novella and the controversies on renaissance 
matters were usually kept separate. The former is given 
only an occasional place in such a book as The Courtier, 
and the latter were confined to dialogues, to works where 
narrative figured only slightly, or, at most, as in The 
Decameron, admitted to the frame-story of a collection. 
But the arguments, begun in Boccaccio's garden, swelled 
to greater proportions, and the rhetorical literature of 
the humanists began to find its way into the stories 
themselves. This seems to have happened more fre- 
quently without Italy than within, and the foreign ex- 
amples of story mingled with discourse which were placed 
before the Elizabethans, came usually from among those 
writers whose renaissance was likewise second hand. Such 
an author is the Spanish bishop Guevara, in whose Marcus 
Aurelius, famous for its supposed influence upon Euphu- 
ism, and its popularity in Elizabethan England, narrative 
is drowned in sententious discussions of manners and life. 
Still another is the Frenchman, Belleforest, whose rhetor- 
ical reworking of the uncontaminated novelle of Ban- 


dello was perhaps a main agent in the introduction of 
this fashion of story-teUing into England. His trans- 
lated plots are often merely a cloak to introduce long 
commentaries on action and character, which make, as the 
author remarks, ** pour Tinstitution de la vie, & formation 
des bonnes mceurs." Sometimes, again, the union of the 
two literatures, novella and himianist, is made in England 
itself, as in Edmund Tilney's Flower of Friendship 
(1568), where plots of The Decameron are joined to 
discourse from The Courtier. But, whether by an imita- 
tion of France or Spain, or by an English blend of 
Italian story with Italian thought, or by an English 
commentary on a foreign or native story, the Elizabethan 
short story owed its extra-narrative features to the human- 
ist h'terature which sprang from the peculiar interests of 
the renaissance. 

The seal for all to see set by the humanist upon the 
forehead of renaissance literature was rhetoric. In this, 
as in so much else, the Elizabethans were but following 
the trail of the Italians. Beside the current of pure and 
simple story, which, from Boccaccio downward, had been 
flowing in the Italian novella, rose this intellectual, 
highly wrought, and imitative literature of the humanists. 
Boccaccio's Fiammetta is full of love complaints in elegant, 
though impassioned, verbosity, where style is as much the 
chief consideration as story in The Decameron. The 
imitation of the classics in the fifteenth century brought 
a still stronger tendency to be imitative of elegance. In 
the sixteenth century, Bembo and his followers employed 
the vulgar tongue for the expression of modem thoughts 
in the fashion of the classics. Dialogues flourished ; letter- 
writing with Delia Casa and Aretino became a fine art. 


The cultivation of the native language was a subject for 
debate, as we find it in The Courtier, Every inch of 
this development favored the rhetorical, and, even without 
an overplus of pedantry, the affected style, which was at 
its worst in the seventeenth century, followed most nat- 

In Italy, and later in England, polish, eloquence, a 
solicitude for beauty and dignity of phrase, was still 
further encouraged by that renaissance poetry which, in 
a fashion more original than that of the scholars, echoed 
the classic beauties. The Latin poetry of Mantuan and 
Pontano, the Italian of Petrarch, and, later, Ariosto, the 
mingled prose and verse of Sannazaro, were perfect in 
finish, and raised the Italian writers, in the estimation 
of the North, to the position of third among the creators 
of classic literatures. 

Thus rhetoric was encouraged in both its good and its 
bad senses. On the one hand, the language was dignified 
and often made glorious; on the other, empty phrasing 
for effect was not always distinguished from beauty and 
dignity. While in poetry the first result was likely to 
follow, prose, with its lack of restraint and of potential 
elevation, too often exhibited the second. Indeed, ver- 
bosity and an artificial dignity in prose narrative began 
on the Continent long before the new English fiction 
appeared. The Italian novella kept its way compara- 
tively unaffected by the inflations of the grand style, 
but even as early as the fifteenth century the humanists 
began to take over such simple stories into Latin and 
adorn them. There is, for example, the tale of Euralio 
et Lucretia, written in 1444, by ^nea Sylvio Piccolomini, 
afterwards Pope Pius II, which is a very model for 


the later Elizabethan love novella. Less fantastic, less 
replete with digression and discussion, its groundwork is 
that same variety of intrigue, where cities, places, and 
personalities take the place of the generalities of the 
romance, and its working out is by means of those letters, 
back-and-forth orations, classic allusions, and all attempts 
to dignify narrative so familiar in Elizabethan. 

An even better instance is to be found in the Histoires 
Tragiques of Belleforest, which, in various guises, became 
so popular and so influential in England. Belleforest 
began his career as a poet and attendant star to the Pleiad. 
He was filled with the spirit of Ronsard and Du Bellay, 
who themselves had been inspired by Italy, and he hoped 
to ennoble French prose as his masters had ennobled 
French verse. His reputation was made by so-called 
translations of Bandello's slightly earlier Milanese 
novelle, beginning with a volume published in 1559. The 
Italian had told his vivid stories in the simple style of 
one who relates what he has heard. His characters do 
little talking, and, except for an occasional speculation, 
he does little himself. His style is said to be crude, and 
certainly is unadorned and direct, but his stories were 
tremendously popular, and they succeed by sheer force 
of narrative. For Belleforest, however, he was an author 
"assez grossier," who, while deserving honor for his 
invention, and the truth of his histories (somewhat con- 
tradictory virtues), must be embellished in the translation 
by " sentences," " harangues," and " epistres," as the case 
might require. All this was to be for the glory of the 
French tongue, for the education of youth, and for Bandel, 
who will perceive himself more polished in French than 
he was rude and gross in Lombard (Hist, vii., Bk. !.)• 


The result, as the author maintained, was no translation. 
The purposes of the Italian are endowed with words. 
The characters become voluble. Magniloquent letters 
pass backwards and forwards, orations on life and morals 
are spared by neither actors nor author, and the stories, 
though better realized, are verbose, bombastic, and nearly 
always tedious. This is the manner, in exaggeration, 
of the classic oration, ecologue, and dialogue. It is the 
manner of those early examples of rhetorical narrative, 
the Greek romances, whose popularity began again with 
the renaissance. 

So by the sixteenth century all the renaissance litera- 
tures were in love with the great and swelling word, 
Spain, outside England, being the worst offender. Indeed, 
it would be folly to trace the embellished narrative of 
the Elizabethans to any one book. They breathed in the 
spirit of the humanists wherever they could find it. It 
was this that made them ** raffineurs de I'Anglois,'* as 
I. Eliote called Greene and Lyly. In their humble labors 
in narrative, they followed and took their place beside 
the himianists of the G)ntinent who were trying to raise 
their literatures to the dignity of Rome. To the move- 
ment in which these Elizabethans were early and prom- 
inent we owe much glory of language, perhaps such a 
phrase as " the multitudinous seas incarnadine." We owe 
it, too, for the endless letters, the set speeches, the ver- 
bosity of the generation in rhythmic prose. Infected with 
this common disease of the renaissance, they were stylists 
before they were story-tellers, and in prose, unfortunately, 
bad stylists more often than good. 

Thus it appears, from this brief survey of its sources. 


that the new short story was like a sponge. The sponge 
itself was the Italian novella. The fluids which it soaked 
in and swelled with are the mingled currents of the revival 
of learning, the remodeling of manners, and the redignify- 
ing of language, plus certain streams of native habit 
persistent in the island. The swelling, for the most 
part, was accomplished in England. But from Italy (to 
drop the figure) came the major inspiration, most of 
the stories, most of the new interest in a vivid but possible 
life, most of the vogue of the short story. From Italy, 
too, came the learning of the humanists, and the stir 
to the intellect which led to the arguing of all con- 
temporary questions. From Italy, finally, the impulses 
which stirred on to fine writing and mere rhetoric. France 
appears as an intermediary, though a very important 
one, since a knowledge of French was commoner than 
an acquaintance with Italian, and crossing the channel 
easier than climbing the Alps. Spain is a factor in^tyle, 
and, later, a source of fashions in fiction, but not of ideas. 
The Elizabethans received all open handed. The age 
demanded a new and more interesting life, wished to be 
taught, welcomed preaching, arguing, anything to satisfy 
an intellectual curiosity which was as great, if not so 
well-directed, among the women as among the men. 
This eager curiosity, this desire to improve, to equal 
the andents and the Italians, is not to be forgotten in 
considering the strange form which the short story assumes, 
a wild youth dressed in gown and mortar-board. But we do 
not read The Compleat Angler to learn how to catch fish, 
and, if we can rid ourselves of modem prejudices in favor 
of rapid and probable narrative, these stories may become 
a tempered delight. The stately phrases of the dialogue 



are often rhythmical, and sometimes gorgeous. In the 
courtly controversies over love and life are the accents of a 
society free from materialism and world-weariness. Yet 
this is external merely, and their real worth for the age 
that devoured them must remain a mystery unless they are 
read by the aid of their source, the renaissance. Only so 
can one understand the popularity of Lyly, whose narrative 
is a thread afloat in a sea of rhetorical discourse, or Shake- 
speare's choice of the plot of the humble novella for 
apotheosis into the divinest of dramatic poetry. 




THE Elizabethan novella, which flourished through- 
out the reign of the great queen, and kept its popu- 
larity well into the next century, was the result of the 
influences discussed in the last chapter. But there entered 
into the compound a native originality to be expected in 
narrative issuing from the brains of some of the quaintest, 
most fantastic, and most brilliant men in the history of the 
race. Their fiction was like the mixture of fashions from 
all over Europe which made up the Elizabethan's dress. 
And yet, as with his clothes, so with his story, no matter 
how foreign were the elements, an English mind had ar- 
ranged them to suit itself. The effect of the English tem- 
perament upon the short story which the renaissance pro- 
vided is not only interesting, it is also highly significant for 
the student of literary history. 

As might be expected, this Tudor short story is first 
of all an oddity in fiction, as much so, indeed, as the strange 
beasts of the Euphuists in natural history. It begins, as 
a rule, with a moral reflection leading on to the plot. The 
idle and courtly hero sees the heroine in church or garden, 
and promptly delivers over all his faculties to love. He 
writes a lengthy letter of declaration, is answered in one 



quite as rhetorical, and finally is given an assignation, at 
which point the story reaches its desired path, and now 
ambles through the intrigue, with abundant pauses for con- 
fession, discussion, and oration, stopping short at certain 
pleasant gardens wherein is held discourse upon life and 
the metaphysics of love. And then comes deceit which 
leads to despair, despair which brings on the tragedy, and 
so, with a moral, the jaunt concludes. An infinite pro- 
crastination of climax ; rhetoric, which, even when brilliant, 
is fantastic ; little individuality in characters ; and an enor- 
mous cargo of superfluous argument — all these are patheti- 
cally obvious criticisms to be made upon these " delightfuU 
Hystories " and " pretie discourses." 

"What's ta good on't?" as Carlyle would say. Not 
much, it must be admitted, for the casual reader. And 
yet we are not quite ready to hand over this century of 
fiction, one of the four most prolific in English history, 
to the student of sources and of style. The enormous 
popularity of Painter, Greene, Deloney, and Ford, which 
extended through several literary periods; the acknowl- 
edged genius of the pla5rwrights, Gascoigne, Lyly, Dek- 
ker, and Greene, who were also story-tellers; the avidity 
with which the dramatists fell upon these " histories," and 
the debt they owe to them for atmosphere and for style, 
as well as for plot; here is enough to justify an appeal from 
the verdict of posterity. Not from the decision that, as 
stories, these collections arc usually no easy reading, for in 
such a matter the popular verdict is final — for its genera- 
tion. But rather from a conclusion which literary his- 
torians, with the exception of M. Jusserand, seem to have 
reached tacitly, that they are uninteresting. On the con- 
trary, these narratives are still fascinating for whoever is 


interested in a brilliant period, in writers as talented as 
they are fantastic, in the sidelights which are thrown off 
from one genre to be illuminative of other and greater 
work, and in the organic development of literary expres- 
sion, which changes its form with the changing of the racial 
mind. According to Lyly, the hard adamant when 
moistened with goat's blood bursts asunder. If one begins 
to read the Elizabethan novella with a little sympathy 
for the conceits and enthusiasms of the sixteenth century, 
it is surprising how much beauty reveals itself, and what 
vigorous sources from which a more perfect fiction will 

The vanguard of the new prose short stories from over- 
sea appears in the jest-books of the early sixteenth century, 
of which Beatrice's Hundred Mery Talys (1526) was an 
example. They read like profane imitations of the old 
exemplum collections, and the best of their foreign stories 
are no more than very spindling straws to show which way 
the wind was blowing. 

Somewhat more substantial evidence of renaissance 
tendencies is to be found in the verse translations of such 
well-known Italian novelle as Guiscardo and Ghismonda, 
which begin to be popular with the work of the half- 
medieval William Walter as early as 1522, and continue, 
nearly always in the old 4:3 measure, beside the prose 
throughout the period. The first foreign novella to ap- 
pear in a worthy prose form was probably the ever popular 
tale of Boccaccio, Titus and Gisippus, which Elyot in- 
cluded in his famous treatise. The Boke of the Governour 
(153 1 )* translating from a Latin version, and indulging 
in an oratorical elaboration of the story. Before the sec- 
ond half of the century most English scholars and courtiers 


were probably acquainted with the fiction as well as the 
learning of Italy. But these pioneers of the renaissance 
were absorbed in the rehabilitation of classic learning, and 
English fiction received little from them, either in quantity 
or quality. 

It happened, therefore, that the unlearned owed their in- 
troduction to the Italian novella in the main to one book, 
The Palace of Pleasure, which in 1566, the industrious 
William Painter was led to compile from his favorite read- 
ing among the best known of the French and Italian 
short stories. This was the largest importation of Latin 
stories ever made into English, and it contained good plots 
in a variety which even the Gesta Romanorum, or The 
Canterbury Tales could not boast. The popularity of 
these " niewes or nouvelles " (Painter was uncertain what 
to call them) was largely due to the interest in those 
much advertised cities, Florence, Rome, and Venice, whose 
life and happenings could here be read of by a nation 
whose eager minds were straining towards everything 
Italian. The work belongs with those renderings into 
English which, just at this time, were opening the sources 
of Italian culture one by one to English readers. Other 
translators of stories, as good or better than Painter, fol- 
lowed, with whom we have little to do, since they merely 
continue the flow of Latin stories into English and pro- 
vide plots for the dramatists. 

More interesting are the men of greater independence, 
who followed hard upon Painter. Young Fenton turned 
rhetorical Belleforest into more rhetorical discourses. 
Pettic borrowed only plot-ideas for his stories, and 
padded, tucked, and braided almost beyond recognition. 
Gascoigne and Whetstone invented tales and ascribed them 


to imaginary Italians. Lyiy breaks away from the South 
entirely, and owes no one for his plot. Greene, his fol- 
lower in Euphuism, is equally independent, and with him 
romance re-enters the novella. Nash and Chettle desert 
the short story to bring back a sterner realism ; and with 
Breton the journalist, and Deloney the silk-weaver, every- 
day English life begins to find a place beside the tropics 
and the Italy of the translators and imitators. 

•These, most cursorily, are the movements and the lead- 
ers in fiction, which followed upon the invasion of Eng- 
land by the literature of the renaissance. I have briefly 
indicated their place in the general scheme that I may be 
more free to treat of the most interesting personalities, and 
so place before the reader not only the historical rela- 
tions of their work, but also those salient points of char- 
acter and literary merit which invite reading as well as 
study of the writers of a past age. 



To William Painter, clerk of her majesty's ordnance in 
the tower, came the happy thought to turn into his own 
tongue the " histories " which, following TuUy, he read 
for " profite and pleasure." His reading was wide, his 
taste in fiction, on the whole, good, and he had patience 
to accomplish his purpose so thoroughly that the two 
volumes of The Palace of Pleasure (1566-7) have re- 
quired three large books in the reprint of Joseph Jacobs. 
He was a faithful translator into good, if not polished, 
English, only adding his moral mite in the introduction, 
or occasionally expanding, or condensing. If his source 
was the rhetorical Belleforest, this fidelity, to be sure. 


was sometimes unfortunate, but where the original story 
was simple and direct, Painter was simple too. His style, 
also, though involved and sometimes clumsy, is remark- 
ably business-like for an Elizabethan, and a far better 
medium than Euphuism in which to present the lucid 
novella of the Latins. His last note of individuality is 
a didactic morality, professed by no one of his originals 
except Belleforest, but proclaimed loudly in the preface to 
the Palace, in words which were to be paraphrased again 
and again by his successors. '' All which," he writes of his 
histories, " maye render good examples, the best to be 
followed, and the worst to be avoyded." There was in- 
cipient Puritanism in Painter, as in so many of his con- 

As these are not the qualifications of a leader in liter- 
ary fashions, the influence of Painter's book, so great upon 
fiction, so exceedingly great upon Elizabethan drama, must 
be due to the stories which he made accessible. And this, 
of course, is the truth of the matter. The list of his 
sources includes, among the moderns, Boccaccio, Bandello, 
Straparola, Cinthio, Giovanni Fiorentini, Margaret of 
Navarre ; among the ancients, Livy, Herodotus, Xenophon, 
Plutarch; great story-tellers all of them, whose work, in 
the main, was inaccessible before in English, and had 
never been presented to Englishmen in so concentrated 
and so readable a fashion. It was an opportune influx of 
the best of the novelle, the very food which the new age 
was craving. 

And so this Palace of Pleasure, which shares with 
Euphues and the Arcadia the fame now left to Elizabethan 
fiction, asks for very little discussion in addition to that 
already bestowed upon its sources, the renaissance novella. 


Its author provided a remarkably compendious assortment 
of foreign stories in readable English, and published them 
just at the height of the market. The dramatic value of 
these realistic, vivid, admirably plotted narratives became 
evident as soon as the dramatists had gained technique 
enough to appreciate and use them — that is, some score of 
years later. The effect upon prose fiction, however, was 
immediate, and if little was due to the art of Painter, 
much was owing to his enterprise in blazing the trail to- 
wards Italy and the new short story. 



Goe£Frey Fenton, a young English gentleman who was 
resident in Paris in 1567, was the first after Painter to try 
his hand at the new short story. At that time, and thus 
hard upon Painter's heels, he tried to gain recognition at 
home by his Tragical Discourses (1567), translated out of 
Belleforest, who, in turn, had enlarged upon the Lombard 
Bandello's novelle, 

Fenton belonged to a type rather familiar in the Eng- 
lish renaissance. He seems to have been as eager for the 
new life of the South as the most Italianate of his country- 
men, and the sincerity of his interest in its vivid tales of 
blood, lust, and beauty is proved by the stories he chose 
for translation, no less than by an unctuous elaboration, 
in his rich Elizabethan, of the worst situations. His 
ardor for the renaissance appears, also, in a keen apprecia- 
tion of every elegance in description or classical allusion. 
Lavish Belleforest, who made a descriptive paragraph from 
an Italian sentence, and thus began the transformation of 
these novelle, is outdone, and the sensuous and the sensual 
are alike heightened. At the end of every episode Fenton 


becomes the aggressive Puritan, trumpeting fortH the 
anger of God, and like Chaucer before him, he borrows 
(I quote from Discourse xii., 230): " thusmuche on the 
office of the preacher, not with intent to charge hym any 
waye with the imputacion of negligence in the pulpit, 
touching his admonicion to his people . . . but, in present- 
ing our merchants with a familiar example of the office and 
dutie of a true Christian, to sturr theym to the ymytacion 
of the like vertue." Nevertheless, it is notable that the 
topics upon which Fenton most loves to orate are the 
commonplaces of the renaissance: the nature of women, 
the passions, and the education of the young. 

Belleforest supplies the moral reflection to which the 
English sentence in the paragraph above is added. Belle- 
forest, indeed, supplies almost all the substance of Fen- 
ton's work, and all its merit except its style. For Fenton 
has the " grand style," the style which a little later became 
immortal in blank verse and ridiculous in prose. He is 
proclaimed a '' raffineur " by each elaboration of sentence 
rhythm, by his careful choice of words, and by every suc- 
cessful attempt to gain polish and sonority of diction: 
" But nowc to the sorowful Montanyn, who, where 
playninge the points of his desaster in a darke prison, where 
was no kynd of consolation, nor yet the offer of any eccho 
to resounde his dolorous cryes, was saluted the nexte daye 
with a copye of his sentence diffinitive." This rich diction 
was the fitting medium for the courtly letters, the learned 
discoursing, and the tragic happenings of the Italian 
novelle as it had been rewritten by such a quasi-humanist 
as Belleforest. " The thinge itselfe declares what toyle he 
undertooke, Ere Fentons curious fyle could frame this 
passing pleasant booke," says George Turbervile, himself 


} a judge of stories, in his poem in praise of the translator. 
For good or ill the " curious file " was now to be applied 
to the language of English fiction, and Fenton was not 
unworthy to be the inaugurator of such a movement. His 
language is pithier, richer, far more picturesque than his 
original. His translation of Belleforest is like a new 
church, following line by line an old edifice, but substi- 
tuting everywhere porphyry for granite, marble for wood. 
If Lyly and Greene had not later carried the style of 
what may be called the dropsical school in narrative to a 
logical but unfortunate limit, a share of due credit for 
such benefits as our prose has gained from its authors 
would be more often given to this forgotten writer. 

It is not only for his rich English that Fenton might 
be read to-day with pleasure; an impression of the vivid 
life of the Italian renaissance, as conceived by a fascinated, 
if not entirely sympathetic, observer, is worth gaining, 
and well gained, from his baker's dozen of stories. The 
delight in reading is made doubtful by the tediousness of 
the speeches, each one an oration, and the constant di- 
gressions, but there is a virtue in the fault for the student 
of literature. Here, for the first time in English prose, 
the actors say all they choose about themselves, the author 
all he cares of them, a privilege which is perhaps the 
sine qua non of the later English novel. There is little 
more analysis of character in Fenton than in Bandello, yet 
the fashion of calling attention to what lies behind the 
plot was first continued, after Chaucer, by these writers 
of the renaissance, and first given suitable form in Eng- 
lish prose by him. It was a step towards Tom Jones and 
Clarissa Harlowe. 

Fenton was not a deep scholar, for the most learned 


allusion, and the best reflection, are invariably Belle- 
forest's. It is questionable whether he was even well 
read, for in his translation " un Romant de Tristan " 
becomes " of one Romanto Tristano." His idea of how 
narrative should proceed was as tediously barbaric as his 
lovers, who begin with a letter and an oration, proceed 
by an argument delivered by a bawd, and usually end with 
a seduction. But his book hit the taste of the times with 
just the highly-mannered, verbose discussion of a good 
plot that readers of Castiglione, Guevara, and Boccaccio 
most enjoyed. It made the humanist's padded story at 
home in English prose. 


A measure of the popularity of Painter and Fenton is 
the distress of the high-minded Ascham over the success 
of books " made in Italie," which was voiced in his School- 
master, written about 1568. The high morality of the in- 
troductions of these collections evidently did not go down 
with the professional moralists. Criticism from the gpdly, 
however, has nearly always helped the market for the 
literature they do not favor, and, in this instance, if 
Ascham had written a score of years later, his wail would 
have been much louder. In the first decade after Painter, 
not only adaptations, but home-made imitations of the 
Italian novella were presented to the public; by the second, 
the stronger story-tellers make no outward professions 
whatsoever of debt to the Italian novellieru In both, 
stories of the new novella type abound. Among the men 
who carried on the development of the Elizabethan novella, 
Pettie, Lyly, and Greene are more interesting for what 
they themselves contributed. It is in the work of their con? 


temporaries, Gascoigne, Whetstone, and Riche, that the 
continuing domestication of the Italian story is most plainly 
to be seen. 

A strange evidence of Italian popularity is the existence 
of certain stories in this period which claim to be trans- 
lations and yet are probably the original work of Eng- 
lishmen. For example, in 1570, John Drout brought 
forth the " first fruites of my travell " in The pityfull 
Historic of two loving Italians, Gaulfrido and Bernardo 
le vayne, — translated out of Italian into Englishe meeter. 
The story, to be sure, is a garbled version of Boccaccio's 
Titus and Gisippus, but internal evidence makes it prob- 
able that *' translated out of the Italian '' was used very 
much as " made in England '' on some American haber- 
dashery. George Gascoigne, father of Elizabethan poetry, 
and actual stepfather of one good story-teller, Nicholas 
Breton, falls under like suspicion. He wrote only one 
prose story, Ferdinando Jeronimi and Leonora de Valasco 
(i573)« At its second appearance in 1575, he gave it an 
Italian setting, and ascribed it to one '' Bartello.'' In 
1576, George Whetstone, friend and biographer of Gas- 
coigne, brought out his Rocke of Regard, a miscellany con- 
taining spoils of wild youth and governed age in good 
Elizabethan fashion, and one prose tale. The Discourse of 
Rinaldo and Giletta, ascribed to an unknown Italian au- 
thor, yet certainly his own invention. Not even the testi- 
mony of the angry preachers could be better evidence of 
the vogue of the Italian story ! 

Another contemporary felt the influence of the Italian 
novella strongly upon him, and yet contrived to be some- 
what more original. The merry Barnabe Riche, as early as 
1574, had written a dialogue in which certain Italian 


stories were contained, but he steps into the light of Eng- 
lish fiction with Riche his Farewell to Militarie profession 
(1581), one of the pleasantest story-books of the period. 
A soldier and a courtier of ladies, he has dropped the 
moral justification for his stories, asserts frankly that 
seven of them are " forged onely for delight," and writes 
a narrative neither burdened with digressions, as with 
Whetstone and Gascoigne, nor overfraught, as in Fcnton, 
with warning tragedies. The humor is of the gayest. His 
farewell to the military is professedly because he hopes 
to fare better with the ladies, and he comes to the 
charge merrily, with a constant rallying and a bantering 
flattery. " I beseche you, gentilwomen, yet to comfort 
yourselves! I knowe your gentil hartes can not endure 
to heare of suche ungentill partes: but these are but the 
frumpes of ordinarie Fortune." There is a suggestion of 
Chaucer about him, and not a little of the poet's merry 
humor appears in certain fabliau-like stories of this col- 
lection, while the comparative infrequency of oratorical 
love-speeches, the rapidity of movement, good dialogue 
and monologue, give an impression of ease and lightness 
wanting in most of the serious " histories " that we have 
been considering. 

The stories themselves are diverse in character. Nearly 
all begin with a paragraph of reflection on love or fortune, 
in the manner which Fenton learned from Belleforest. 
Some are condensed romances, like the first, which seems to 
be a very free version of the old and favorite Placidas 
story, others admirably compact novelle. Four are directly 
from the Italian, and all are primed with the spirit of 
the renaissance. The forged tales are the most interesting, 
and even though, as Koeppel has shown, they are not all 



forged, and the plots of the presumably original ones not 
strildngly novel, yet their variegated narrative is carried on 
with much of the color and realistic detail of the later ' 
comedy, and shows what an Englishman could do when 
he was trying to be neither preacher, nor grand stylist. 
Read (if you have a strong stomach) the story " Of two 
brethren and their wives," in which the clothes-hamper 
figures much as in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and see 
how much lively humor and true observation, and how 
little affectation is to be found there. 

Indeed, under Riche's lighter fingering, some of the 
renaissance peculiarities of narrative lose their odious 
qualities. A lengthy declamation is not unpalatable when 
sauced with wit, as we observe in Elizabethan drama, and 
a long declaration of love not tedious if humorous as well. 
" You might do much," we feel like saying with Olivia, in 
the play whose plot was one of his own stories. But, un- 
fortunately for narrative, the grand style, the sermon, the 
tragic event, were to continue to gain in fashion, and a 
healthy digestion of that rhetoric which the study of the 
classics had foisted upon the vulgar tongue was not yet 
possible. Riche did his part, and if he lacks the pathos and 
sonority of Fenton, is to be commended for breaking half 
way from the thrall of rhetoric, and taking for motto such 
words as, '* that whiche I minde to write shall be dooen 
with suche celeritie, as the matter that I pretende to penne 
maie in any wise permit me." Celerity in narrative, even 
such mild speed as Riche's, was to go begging for many a 
long year. 

By the time that Riche's Farewell was in circulation, 
the new school of the Euphuists was in full swing, and 
the domestication of the foreign story was complete. The 


Italian novella, entering both in simple native costume, 
and in the borrowed flaunts of French rhetoric, had been 
imitated and altered for domestic tastes. Gascoigne in- 
fused a faint element of character study, and a certain 
sweetness as of English country air in place of the too com- 
mon reek of poison and murder. Whetstone remolded the 
old plots for verse stories in his Rocke of Regard, and tried 
his hand at a humanist short story under cover of an as- 
serted Italian authorship. Riche came out from behind the 
shelter of a real or feigned Italian source, to proclaim his 
originality with more boldness than complete veracity; 
and the best of his tales are as English in feeling and 
atmosphere as Shakespeare's romantic comedies. Thus 
the new short story type was thoroughly naturalized. But 
even though such tales of international stock as Placidas 
were creeping into these English books, the writers were 
still conscious of their dependence upon Italy, and still 
dealing in the main with Italian life (as the novellieri gave 
it), and with the Italian method of writing about it. In- 
deed, it is only as imitators of a common source that two 
personalities as different as Whetstone and Riche can be 
brought within the limits of a single section. 


We must now move back into the eighth decade of the 
century, and take up contemporaries of these Italian imi- 
tators, men more noteworthy for their invention than for 
their borrowings. Pettie and Lyly, the prime Euphuists, 
are by no means entirely original writers, for the strange 
style which won them distinction was only an excessive 
development of tendencies common before, and their 
method of telling a story is just that of Fenton made 


more dropsical. But it was their books, and not the 
adaptations of Gascoigne, Whetstone, and Riche, which 
set the fashion in narrative for the next decade. 

It is natural, in a period when the short story came 
into the limelight as never before, to find it the agent 
for the spread of Euphuism, the new style which, for 
a while, was so pervasive that few men or women of 
wit or fashion wrote in any other manner. This Euphu- 
ism was a highly polished, highly artificial method of 
writing, full of balanced clauses, and alliteration, and 
crowded with similes, which in Euphues, the work of 
Lyly's which gave it name, are usually drawn from an 
unnatural history of plants and animals. Its peculiarities 
have been ably described elsewhere, and need no further 
analysis here. Its origin is closely involved with those 
powerful currents of taste which made the Italian novella 
su£Fer such a sea-change in becoming Elizabethan fiction. 

Euphuism has been aptly defined as a disease of language, 
but it was a disease like fatty degeneration of the heart 
when that trouble follows an over-strenuous attempt to 
improve the whole physique. In its three most notorious 
masters, Pettie, Lyly, and Greene, Euphuism is the result 
of that abnormally developed taste for rhetoric character- 
istic of the early renaissance, and discussed above. It 
is the work of a '* raffineur " of language, who has lost 
sight of restraint and good taste in the attempt to raise 
the tongue to the level of the pompous Latin and the 
sonorous Italian. The writer is not wrong, he is merely 
excessive in his attempt. From this point of view. Euphu- 
ism is no invention of Lyly's, nor an imitation of the 
Spanish, but a natural development in the prose of this 
ardent generation, where every writer tried to wield a 


nobler phrase, and achieve a more excellent diction for 
the expression of the swelling ideas of the renaissance. 
Lyly was by no means the first to exhibit this rhetorical 
tendency. Fenton is continually trying by simile, allitera- 
tion, and elaborate sentence rhythm, to raise his language 
to the dignity of his subject-matter. He is not called a 
Euphuist, because he did not use the particular tricks of 
expression which are associated with the name, but his 
attempt, in a lesser degree, is the same. Whetstone's 
verse is as absurdly alliterative as Pettie's prose. Riche 
occasionally indulges in a perfect carnival of balanced 
phrases. But the peculiar demerit of the three high 
Euphuists is that they spent the major part of their energy 
upon style, and so very naturally exaggerated the manner- 
isms of their contemporaries and predecessors into a dialect 
which could be given a name. In Greene, this was in 
part imitative of the success of Lyly. In Pettie, and par- 
ticularly in Lyly, it seems to have been a genuine attempt 
to improve the tongue. In all three, one notes the sense 
for the market which so many successful writers possess. 
The taste for ornament and extravagance in style, as 
Saintsbury says, is nearly always progressive, one way or 
another. These men caught it upon the rise. 

The result was some of the most tedious writing in 
English, and an artificiality of style which was hard to 
escape from. Yet, as Markheim's mysterious visitor re- 
marks, deeds are not to be judged by their apparent quality 
of good or evil, since the bad act may at some point down 
the ** hurtling cataract of the ages " result in good. So, 
in part, here. Euphuism passed away, though dying hard. 
But the dignity given to the prose story by these successors 
of Ghaucer was of considerable importance for fiction. 


That they injured the narrative does not affect the argu- 
ment. From this time on, there is no century lacking 
examples of prose short stories which men of literary skill 
have written as well as the sense of their times allowed 
them. Fiction acquired a weary load of bombast and 
affectation at the hands of these Elizabethans, but also 
dignity and respect. 

The first of the " raffineurs " whose style has all of the 
peculiarities of Euphuism, was George Pettie, a gentleman, 
a scholar, a traveler, and a soldier, whose only contribution 
to fiction belongs in 1576, the year of Whetstone's The 
Roche of Regard. A Petite Pallace of Pettie his Pleasure 
went throu^ at least six editions by 1613, and, although 
in a later generation its author's grand nephew Wood 
called it reading for schoolboys, or rustic amorata, yet in 
1 58 1 Pettie declared that it had won him such fame as 
had " hee which fired the Temple of Diane." 

This notoriety was not undeserved. In George Pettie's 
book, all the currents of the renaissance ran strongly. 
Controversy over manners was the breath of his life. 
The favorite topics of love and lust were discoursed 
through whole plots with such ingenuity that almost 
every story ends in an appeal for decision or for ratifica- 
tion from his audience. He could preach as well as 
" Welsh Sir Richard.** He could word a love-letter in 
such courteous, filed terms that each sentence was mem- 
orable, and his stories are filled with such letters, with 
allusions, and with classic examples. Lastly, every device 
by which emphasis, rhythm, distinction and dignity could 
be imparted to his language he studied assiduously, and 
practised with no mercy for the narrative which waited. 
Thus A Petite Pallace attained a bad eminence. It was 


the most rhetorical book written so far in English. 

So strong a desire to excel in the mode of the day 
suggests originality, and this Pettie did not lack. As a 
story-teller he borrowed every one of his twelve plots, 
and yet was perfectly free to tell them as he pleased. 
Of the twelve tales, one is Italian, the rest are upon 
familiar classic themes, Pygmalion, Icilius and Virginia, 
Curiatius and Horatia, etc., with a notable exception for 
the reworking of the hoary legend of Alexius. But the 
old stories are quite as strange in their new dress as 
Ulysses and Troilus in Shakespeare's play. Pygmalion, 
for example, is a gentleman of Piedmont, who loves 
Platonically the wife of a noble friend until he is cast off 
because of her base and ignoble passion for a newcomer. 
Only then does he take to his statue. So with the 
Admetus and Alcest, where a preliminary love story, told 
in a complex of letters and speeches, fascinated the lover 
of rhetoric, while the famous sacrifice of the wife advertised 
it. Finally, the saintly Alexius becomes an austere 
student, arguing with his father over love versus learning. 
He is beaten in the first heat, loves, marries, enjoys; 
but satiety follows, and his concluding speech is a con- 
demnation of fleshly folly. Thus the bold Pettie has 
used all these classic stories so that, with some assurance 
of a listener, he might first discourse, and next orate, 
and lastly abuse the gentlewomen to whom they were 
addressed. The Courtier is not more renaissance in its 
varied survey of men's manners than this collection, whose 
titles remind one of the exemplal 

Pettie's contemporaries are not to be laughed at for 
buying such an example of rhetoric run mad. The 
author is delightfully personal. His pursuit of the gentle- 


women he writes for, through irony, abuse, apology, 
a£Fected sympathy, is itself wit of a high order, and 
makes one wonder whether his later editions were not 
purchased by the gentlemen. Sometimes his eloquence 
makes the narrative vivid in spite of its delay. Again, 
there are interesting hints of an originality working 
strongly, for- example the baby talk of the infant Itys in 
Tereus and Progne, who suggests that Shakespeare's Ma- 
milius. Furthermore, the stories are full of thoughts 
put wittily, and so temperate a dictum as that which 
begins Germanicus and Agrippina, '' I am rather settled 
into this sentence, That not the Planets, but our passions 
have the chiefe place in us," is a fairer instance of the 
author's worth than the garnish of a£Fected diction, which 
scarcely could have succeeded without the substratum of 
new ideas provided by the renaissance. 

Pettie's style is worth a chapter, but It must be cut 
o£F with a paragraph. It is a marvelous tour de force. 
Lyly can beat him at his own game in the number of 
similes, especially of those drawn from supposed natural 
history, which are the particular mark of Euphuism — 
and, in tediousness. But in the ardor of his attempt to 
construct from English an organ with few but resounding 
stops, he is almost imequalled. The sixth paragraph of 
Cephalus and Procris has in one place rime, and actually 
a regular meter; in another parentheses, and, in a third, 
a dazzling collection of balanced attributes, all in the 
attempt to rise to the occasion! Forget for an instant 
the resulting plight of the story, allow yourself to admire 
the skill of the writer, and it is easy to comprehend the 
fascination of the style, and its power over imitators. 
Nor should it be forgotten that to pens grown skilful 


from such practice wc owe, in part at least, the " grand 
style" of the later dramatists. 

The principal di£Ference between Pettie and John Lyly, 
his more famous successor, is that while Pettie never 
forgets that he is a writer of short stories, Lyly had 
courage enough to adopt a theory of narrative better 
suited to his style. Historians of English literature balk 
at his famous Euphues, intimating that it is a " what-not," 
and usually end by calling it a novel. But its true 
nature is clear as soon as one compares it with the rheto- 
rical short stories which the Italianate Englishman of 
the previous paragraphs had been inflating and polishing 
to suit the taste of the Elizabethans. Euphues. The 
Anatomy of Wit (1578 or 1579), Lyly's first publication, 
is a short story of the Italian novella type, expanded 
beyond all previous limits by discourse, argument, and 
oration, and followed by pamphlets and letters which 
could not be crammed into the story. Euphues and his 
England (1580), is a far looser narrative structure, 
whose plot hardly reaches a goal, but is burst out of 
nearly all semblance to a novella by the extraneous 
material contained. It is clear that Lyly had realized 
what any critic of the preceding ten years can discern. 
The cultured and courtly among English readers cared 
more for the discourse, particularly if polished and witty, 
than for the narrative itself. Pettie humored them by in- 
creasing the proportion of argument, and by double- 
polishing his diction; Lyly wins to the top at a stroke 
by boldly disregarding all story except the threads which 
bind his work together, and by discussing and polishing 
to our nausea — ^but Queen Elizabeth's (and Shake- 
speare's?) delight. The plot of the first book is simple. 


Euphues falls in love with Lucilla, to whom Philautus, 
his intimate and her admirer, presents him. Lucilla turns 
her affections towards Euphues, which causes a breach 
between the friends. But Curio, a young man of few 
merits, suddenly engages her fancy, and, deserting both, 
she marries him. This ** argument," which might come 
from Bandello, takes up one hundred and five pages of 
discourse, and is supplemented by letters and pamphlets 
on education, atheism, exercise, oratory, and other popular 
topics which had been neglected or omitted in the story. 
The narrative portion of the much longer Euphues and 
his England, save for the included love story of old 
Fidus, is merely the vain courting of Camilla by Philautus, 
and his greater success with Mistress Frances, his 
" violet." In the first of these books, one sees the short 
story like the hull of some ship which serves as barge, 
and just reveals its lines beneath the load. In the other, 
the narrative more resembles a raft — anything to keep 
the discourse afloat! In both, it is easy to see that a 
discharge of cargo is soon to be inevitable. Narrative 
can go no farther towards the essay and remain narrative. 
On the whole, Euphues, the title which is commonly 
used to cover both these works, is more conceited, more 
mannered, and more rhetorical than any other book 
in the language. It shares with Paradise Lost the pecu- 
liarity of being more talked about than read, and with 
Tom Moore's songs the quality of being more influential 
than excellent. And yet, no book can bestow a word 
upon the language, as this one did, or give its own accent 
to polite discourse for a decade, without some merits 
worth the pointing out. The critics who have called 
Euphues mere fantastic rubbish have been led astray by 


the difficulty with which the modern mind grips and 
holds the thought through endless similes and balancings, 
and the weariness of an effort which dulls the senses. But 
the keen satire, the pleasant humor, the good sense, 
the genuinely witty dialogue in Lyly's work could readily 
be distinguished if space allowed. We might be sure 
that a composition so eagerly accepted by the best minds 
of England would not have been without a foundation 
of worth. Indeed, the magnitude of the success of this 
young man of twenty-five, only recently graduated from 
Oxford, is very easily explained if one remembers that 
to turn a sentence inside out like a cheveril glove was 
the most admired fashion, and considers the pertinency 
of his discourses to the topics most popular at the time. 
For the rest, Lyly differs from his predecessors only 
in excess. He is more Euphuistic than Pettie, more 
moral, if less Puritanical, than Fenton, more crammed 
with the classics and with unnatural history than all 
of them put together. The ability to employ, with any 
point, such an enormous amount of information is aston- 
ishing in so young a man, and would be incredible if 
we did not know what can be done with a good memory, 
and the proper source-books. Nevertheless, the ease with 
which he fits any thought with a dozen similitudes, and 
any phrase with its contrary, amounts to genius. For 
women his book was written, and about womanly topics 
most of its wordy battles are fought Its moralizing is 
mostly concerned with education, religion, or love. In 
Euphues and his England, society, in the modem sense 
of the word, which had just come to life and was dis- 
cussing such topics busily, found itself (however strangely) 
for the first time mirrored in fiction. 


Yet It IS scarcely necessary to point out that every- 
thing notable in the narratives of these Euphuists, except 
the keen and ardent personalities of the writers working 
freely through their plots, is headed directly away from 
good story-telling. As may be easily gathered from the 
sequel, it was all pointed essay-ward, with Bacon ready 
to discover with ease that intellectual El Dorado towards 
which these first navigators had sailed with the unsuitable 
rig of the short story. But this union of narrative and 
essay in the bonds of rhetoric, which our Pettie and Lyly 
illustrate in far greater perfection than Fenton who in- 
troduced it, has had momentous results for the novel. 
Indeed, almost every writer of short narratives in this 
fascinating and aggravating period is of considerable 
influence upon style, upon the essay, upon the novel, upon 
everything except the immediate development of a new 
school of writers of the short story. After Euphues had 
done its work, there were only two roads open for the 
Elizabethan novella: either growth into a more extensive 
plot which could digest the rhetoric and the discoursing, 
or a sloughing away of plot altogether, to let the letters, 
the arguments, and the reflections stand each alone and 
for themselves. The next writers of Action followed 
one or the other of these paths, or broke away entirely 
from the tradition of the Elizabethan short story. 


In or about the beginning of the ninth decade of the 
century, it becomes evident that the taste of the more 
advanced readers of Elizabethan fiction is beginning to 
be urged away from the short story, which for fifteen 
years had been overwhelmingly popular. On the one 


hand, they began to take greater delight in the essay, 
or its equivalent ; on the other, in a new romance, a prose 
romance which retained the heroic outlines of its medieval 
heritage, but was improved by every device of ornament 
and instruction known to the renaissance. Some few 
years before this period, Whetstone had shown certain 
leanings towards the kind of adventures whieh we ordi- 
narily associate with the word romance. Lyly, though 
he trafficked with courts, was too much in earnest to 
dabble in heroic unrealities. But Robert Greene, his 
imitator in Euphuism, and his superior in lasting popu- 
larity, is so evidently a leader in this new movement that, 
in this respect, he should be separated from the Euphuists. 
Bom about 1560, and entering Cambridge in 1575, his 
absorptive period was in the most active decade of the 
Elizabethan novella. A traveler, he came under the 
Italian influence at first hand, a scholar, he was humanist 
to the core, and, since his first story was written in 1580, 
it is natural that he should have been a Euphuist. If 
we are to pick out one writer as most typical of this 
age of story-telling, Robert Greene is the man. 

That he so nearly sums up his period is probably due 
to a sense for what was popular, keener than even Lyly's. 
His audience was less exclusive. They wanted Euphuism, 
information, a show of classic knowledge, but not too 
much thinking. Lyly, in spite of his artificiality, was a 
thinker, but Greene kept every appearance of renaissance 
wisdom, his title-pages being perfect marvels of adver- 
tising in this respect, yet never led the reader into troub- 
lous depths. It was thus, perhaps, that he earned the 
title that Nash gave him, " the Homer of women,'* 
having pleased more of them for a longer period than 


his brainier, but less elastic, fellow-Euphuists. This sense 
for the popular made him sway to all currents of the 
times. He was most successful with the romance. But 
the picaresque, too, was stirring in England. Lazarillo 
de Tormes, the famous Spanish story, had been translated 
in 1568, and again in 1576 and 1586. The jest-books 
dealing with the low life adventures of Scogan and 
George Peele had long been popular. Whetstone had 
made some tentative studies of rascality in his Rocke of 
Regard. But Greene's so-called cony-catching pamph- 
lets were really valuable studies of the lives of sharpers, 
and made a genuine contribution to the material for a 
new novel of realism which was to come only with 
later generation. 

It was this same sense for the market, combined, un- 
doubtedly, with a personal predeliction, which led him 
to romance. In England, a strong taste for realism, and 
a fondness for romance, have often existed at the same 
period. In Greene, they lived in one brain, and, as 
theoretically should be the case, the owner seems to 
have taken refuge on the heights of romance from the 
miserable realism in which he often lived. It was 
romance that Greene seems to have written for pleasure, 
and it was his stories in this vein that lived longest after 
him. The English, after their brief passion for the 
romantic reality of Italian life, as shown in the novelle, 
seem to have required the stronger drug of romantic 
unreality. Whetstone's Rinaldo and Giletta, Riche's 
Sappho, Duke of Mantona, gave signs of this impatience 
with the real world, even of Italy. But in Alcida, in 
Menaphon, in Pandosto, in Philomela, Robert Greene 
cut loose from any probable, contemporary world, and 


either embarks for an impossible Bohemia, or, inspired 
by the bold Portuguese, sails under Antarctic skies to 
Taprobane (our Ceylon), where the strange history of 
an old queen is finished just in time for his rescue by a 
casual ship of Alexandria! Men die of love, and maids 
are transformed into statues by the gods; knightly com- 
bats are frequent, and the golden haz/i of the medieval 
romance settles down again. Yet the deeds of the heroes 
have much more variety, and a little more of the probable, 
while, instead of the old formal intercourse, there flows 
the full tide of rhetorical debate. This is very different 
from the novelle, which Fenton translated and Gascoigne 
aped, where, for all the rhetoric, one had abbots, streets, 
and definite epochs in Naples or Florence, instead of 
hermit kings on impossible shores in a time when Penelope 
could tell stories of Saladin, or make mention of the poet 
Ovid. It is very different from Euphues, which, with 
all its unreality, is in a land of possible manners and 
possible events. But, with these stories, Greene restored 
the vogue of the indefinite, and, reestablishing unrelated 
adventure in polite fiction, led the way from the short 
narrative to that romance having, like the river of ocean, 
neither end nor beginning. 

This romantic vagueness is in nearly all of Greene's 
stories, and is joined to an excessive Euphuism, and a 
surfeit of discoursing. It is, therefore, not surprising 
that, in spite of the amount he wrote and the reputation 
it gained for him, he can be credited with no really good 
short stories. Planetomachia, Penelopes Web, Perymedes 
the Blacke-Smith, Alcida, Farewell to Folly, are all 
story-frames, including short narratives, which, in the 
fashion of Lyly, are more than two-thirds discourse. 


With these he paid his tribute to the still flourishing cult 
of the story collection. The plots show a certain orig- 
inality. Some are borrowed entire; the majority are 
either compounded of simple and familiar themes, or 
made up of original incident pieced out by episodes 
borrowed from well-known stories. It is an attempt, 
which seems to have been succcessful, to remodel foreign 
material for the taste of readers a little tired of the 
Italian novella, yet ready to read new versions, in which 
Italian plots were disguised to resemble the old and 
secretly loved romance. But, in spite of their gorgeous 
diction, there is a lack of flavor in these stories. There 
is too much fine writing, too much imitation, too little 
personality, though plenty of the personal. The sus- 
picion of hack work is always upon them. 

Indeed, it is questionable whether Greene should be 
called a short-story writer at all. He has been abundantly 
noticed by critics of the Elizabethan novel, and in that 
field, in spite of these short-story collections, he really 
belongs. His long stories are his best, and from these 
an infusion of pleasant romanticism spread through Eliz- 
abethan literature, until As You Like It, Much Ado About 
Nothing, and The Winter's Tale extracted its very 
essence. His short narratives tend, far more than any 
work but Lyly's, to become mere discussions, and often 
are very feeble in plot. If less discursive and conceited, 
he might have given the language exquisite examples of 
the short prose idyll, for which his style, at its simpl^t, 
is admirably designed. One charming pastoral is in 
Greenes Mourning Garment (p. 141 f.), another in the 
novelette, Tullies Love (p. I77f.)> ^"<1 he is to be praised, 
in numerous instances, for fluent and highly colored 


narrative in a most poetic prose. But his talent was 
distinctly for the writing of romances, and his main 
service is the joining of the Euphuistic style to the pastoral 
and romantic narrative, where it was most at home and 
could wreak the least harm. Evidently, Greene is a 
link between the period of the Elizabethan short story 
and the Elizabethan and Jacobean romance. He died in 
1592, the very year when Nash published his Jacke 
Wilton, the first of a new kind of novel, which rose 
from the exploits of the cony-catchers as far as Tom 
Jones. He was no more than a collector of material for 
this picaresque novel, just as he was only a borrower 
of plots and a misuser of form in the short story. 
His true place is with Sir Philip Sidney, among the 
captains of romance. 


The most popular writers, after Greene's death had 
ended his pamphleteering, were those romanticists who, 
imitating both Lyly and Greene, established the romantico- 
rhetorical romance as the standard of polite fiction for 
the seventeenth century. Of these, Thomas Lodge, with 
his famous Rosalynde (1590), was perhaps the best. 
Ford, with thirteen editions of Parismus (1598) by 1649, 
and many more afterwards, the most popular. Nicholas 
Breton, step-son of old Gascoigne, is another, whose tale. 
The Strange Fortunes of Two Excellent Princes (1600), 
is a romance where true golden light falls upon a rather 
tedious complication. 

With Thomas Nash, a wild, fantastic writer, full 
of force, with a keen power of observation and a plastic 
language, the long story took a new turn. The Un-, 



fortunate Traveler, or. The Life of Jacke JVilton (1594) 
has been sufficiently celebrated as the first of picaresque 
novels in English, but it is questionable whether it is\ 
read one-half so often as it deserves. It is crammed 
with first-hand observations of life, with vivid historical 
incidents, like the battle of the Anabaptists, with fresh 
satire, as in the pre-Quixotic picture of the tournament 
at Florence, where knights are panoplied in semblance 
of ostriches or watering-pots. And, again, it offers the 
continuous interest which was lacking in the casual cony- 
catching episodes of Greene's experiments in realism. It 
is a genuine novel, but the novella, which had stretched 
its limits and passed over into the prose romance, has 
contracted and become incorporated here. The whole 
Venetian episode is a beffa, the history of Heraclide and 
Esdras of Granado is what Fenton would have called 
a tragedy, and quite as padded as the longest of the 
Tragical Discourses. But, though the gloomy vigor of 
this included story shows that Nash could have equalled 
the best of the Italian novellieri if he had been following 
the models chosen by Whetstone and Gascoigne, it is 
clear that he is moving towards the English novel, not 
back towards the Elizabethan novella. 


Through all this time the current of popular, un- 
literary narrative was flowing as steadily as ever, for the 
greater part, so far as critics and courtly readers were 
concerned, underground. In the vulgar versions of the 
old romances, the rabble fed upon a coarse substitute for 
Menaphon and Rosalynde; in its crude jest-books it 
laughed at humors of intrigue with no rhetoric to obscure 


the point, and in ballad it was stirred by simple strokes 
of pathos and truth. In this last, it was better o£f 
than the aristocracy, who found simple truth to experience 
in the drama, but seldom or never in their own literature, 
the rhetorical novella. 

But as soon as the new fangled story-telling of the 
humanists began to lose its novelty, there are signs that 
the makers of story-books are trying to get material 
from the literature of the vulgar. The earliest indica- 
tion is in the work of an arch-journalist, Nicholas Breton, 
whose career extends from Greene to the days of essays 
and character-books, and savors of all schools. Some time 
in the last decade of the century, he wrote a very re- 
markable and unduly neglected story. The Miseries of 
Mavilia. The unfortunate gentlewoman here named 
tells her story in five miseries, like the " fyttes " of the 
ballad. It is not a short story, it is scarcely a novel, 
though some of the situations are remarkably suggestive 
of later favorites, yet is is noteworthy because in some 
of its episodes a writer of real ability drops rhetoric to 
tell simply a tale of pathetic wandering and faithful 

It was a man out of the masses who first made 
respectable literature from the unadorned stories of the 
vulgar. Thomas Deloney was a silk-weaver who had 
made a reputation by ballad-writing before turning to 
fiction. He tried several ventures, but only one in any 
way purports to carry on the tradition of the short story. 
This was The Gentle Craft (1597), a story collection 
celebrating the guild of shoemakers, written for the 
uncritical, and giving them, in a familiar style, everything 
old or new in fiction that might hit their fancy. One 


tale is a saint's legend, with a dash of Euphuism ; another 
is a bourgeois version of a Greenesque romance; still 
another a miniature jest-book; while in Simon Eyre, and 
Richard Casteler, we get pictures of London life and 
London manners, the best in fiction since Chaucer, and 
to be equalled only in the underplots of the contemporary 

The comedy, indeed, was beginning to pay back its 
debt to fiction. So one may judge from the thoroughly 
natural dialogue and the lively scenes from English life 
in these stories. But their structure comes rather from 
the old prose romance, the narrative ballad, or such 
native and popular material. Form in narrative, ardu- 
ously imported from the Latins some thirty years earlier, 
had been consistently abused by the wits, and is no 
serious consideration with the silk-weaver. His leanings 
are towards the novel, which he could not attain, and, 
gifted with great powers of realistic narrative, he is 
blind to the advantage of compression, arrangement, and 
careful unity, which the Italian short stories, provided 
by the translators, alone could have taught him. His 
virtues lie elsewhere. " Expect not herein," he says, " to 
find any matter of light value, curiously pen'd with 
pickt words or choise phrases, but a quaint and plaine 
discourse best fitting matters of merriment, seeing wee 
have herein no cause to talke of courtiers or scholers.'' 
Now a " plaine " narrative was what story-telling needed 
at just this time, and the "pickt" word the disease it 
was sick of. Honor to Deloney, therefore, who tried 
to bring back unadorned story-telling, even if our boasted 
" sense of form " would have been a " pickt " word for 
him. Honor came to him and The Gentle Craft in a 


remarkable succession of editions, but the romance was 
too much for the cause of plain narrative, which had 
to wait some hundred years for a fashionable success. 



Thus at the end of the century the most notable fiction 
is long, not short, and shows only a reminiscence in 
title, or in form, or in plot, of the novella which it was 
succeeding. The short story had leapt all bounds, and 
carried what virtues and faults it possessed into the 
romance and discourses resembling the essay. In its 
padded form it seems to have remained popular (to judge 
from new editions of the works already discussed) down 
through the years before the Commonwealth, but the sim- 
ple Italian or French conte, whose translation began the 
furore for this kind of fiction, had lost its novelty and its 
fashion by the last decade of the sixteenth century. There- 
upon it sank to a level it has often reached in English 
literature, and became a story for the vulgar or for the 
lazy reader, indifferently told. The Decameron was 
translated entire for the first time in 1620, but it is certain 
that even if its stories had all been new, there would have 
been nothing like the burst of applause which, half a cen- 
tury earlier, had greeted The Palace of Pleasure. 

As a type, the Elizabethan novella withered back to the 
stalk from whence it had sprung, that popular " good 
story " which in all lands and times is told and written 
because it is z good story, the popular story from whence 
the spirituel Italian novella had come. Such simple stories 
were written in England before Euphuism, and after it. 
They were published in the jest-books, they were pub- 


lished in such collections as Tarltons Netues cfUt of Purga- 
tory (1590), The Cobler of Canterburie (1S90), and 
Westward for Smelts ( 1620), but, in any case, their h'ter- 
ary value is slight, and their literary significance still 
slighter; unless, indeed, they are versions of well-known 
Italian novelle, in which case is to be seen again the utter 
inability of the English of this period (and most periods) 
to tell a simple short story with appreciation of anything 
but the point. For they must either abstract all grace and 
literary charm whatsoever, or inject oratory, moralizing, 
local color, or character study, and make something en- 
tirely different (and often admittedly better) out of it. 

It is evident from the three little collections just men- 
tioned, and the translation of The Decameron, that there 
was a reasonable demand at this end of the Elizabethan 
period for short stories of the fabliau type, told for the 
story's sake, and shorn of the ornaments of Euphuism. It 
is evident, too, that the device of the " story frame," which 
they employed, was popularly known and approved, as in 
the time of Chaucer. If some of the gifted wits who 
were pouring forth their brains in plays and pamphlets 
had taken up this style as Deloney took up the popular 
romance, we might have had an English Decameron. Cer- 
tainly Elizabethan life was vivid enough, and Elizabethan 
brains equal to the task. The fashion, however, in literary 
circles, had set towards the essay and the romance, and 
only one of the better-known writers of the day seems to 
have tried his hand at the simple conte. 

Thomas Dekker, who wrote with almost the last oi 
the Elizabethan dramatists, was capable of nearly any- 
thing in realistic fiction. A journalist through and 
through, his chief delight was in characterization, his 


pride in wit. He was a city man to his finger-tips, and 
his pamphlets have material for a hundred novelle of 
London. But Dekker's bent was too satirical, and his 
spirit too impatient for orderly narrative. He ought to 
have written picaresque novels, but the fling-right, fling- 
left pamphlet gave him a chance to use everything in his 
basket, and wit carried off the incoherence. 

Dekker might easily have said of romance, " Thy face 
is far from this our war." The Batchelars Banquet 
( 1603), in which he studies the himiors of women in char- 
acter-book style. The Wonderful Yeare (1603), with its 
assemblage of anecdotes, most of all his Guls Horn-Book, 
are crowded with studies of real life in a style fantastic 
to extreme in its pursuit of wit, but very far from the 
hollow harmony of Euphuism. Yet, with all these char- 
acteristics, he plunged into pure narrative only once, and 
then took up the unfashionable, unadorned conte, where 
he must have felt himself imitating country fashions in- 
stead of inaugurating new ones. This single adventure 
was The Ravens Almanacke (1609), a burlesque upon 
familiar almanacks, in which not even the rude figure with 
its frame of astrological signs was left without a new and 
satirical interpretation. The four seasons are described in 
that terse and vivid fashion familiar to readers of the 
drama, and stories are loosely suffixed. Every tale is vivid. 
Not one is devoid of pungent characterization. And yet, 
when compared with the dramatic work of their author^ 
there is something lacking. They are a little too casual, 
a little too carelessly done. The story of the Devon wife 
of Richard the Ropemaker is the most ingenious, the most 
natural and hearty fabliau story in the Elizabethan period. 
Its use of an imitation Miracle de Nostre Dame is as devei 


as it IS interesting. The credulous " Sir John," who makes 
a text of the whole matter, is thoroughly life-like, and the 
dialogue is often excellent. And yet, with Dekker, story- 
making is not a serious business artistically, as it was with 
Fenton, or with Greene. We escape the literary affecta- 
tions of the earlier writers, but we miss the artistic serious- 
ness which alone can rid the " good story," and particu- 
larly the humorous " good story," from the smell of the 

And this is the trouble with the short story at the end 
of its brilliant period. The rhetorical novella had suf- 
fered from a plethora of art, and was taken so seriously 
that nearly all the good story-quality had disappeared in 
the improving of it. The less pretentious novella of in- 
trigue, where humor and character study were to the fore, 
was never taken seriously enough, and, at the end of the 
age, is just so much better than its confrere of the Hun- 
dred Mery Talys, or such jest-books, at the very dawn 
of the renaissance, as the general improvement in the art 
of writing was bound to make it — ^and no more. 


The Elizabethan fiction on which the age placed the 
stamp of its mind, ended almost with the death of the 
queen. It is true that Pettie's Pallace was reprinted as 
late as 16 13, Lyly, Greene, and Ford kept their popularity 
much longer, and Greene and Ford were good sellers 
after the Restoration. But that peculiar type of short 
narrative which the fertile brains of the early renaissance 
made out of Italian novella, humanist controversy, classic 
rhetoric, and their own invention, ceased to be practised 
at just about the end of the century. A popular journal- 



ist, like Breton, is a good weathercock. His voluminous 
work, when surveyed chronologically, shows the short 
story giving place to the dialogue, to the " character,*' to 
letters which tell parts of stories in their own way, and 
to other work which approaches nearer and nearer to the 
essay. When he tries pure narrative, he experiments with 
the romance. Was the drama surfeiting that appetite 
which had craved the strongly-plotted novella? The 
printing of plays may have spoiled the market for the 
stories which were so often their source, but the continued 
popularity of the old narratives is against this theory. A 
change in taste would account much more easily for the 
sudden paucity of production. The Jacobeans were more 
reflective, more analytical, less extravagant, less excitable, 
less childish, than their predecessors. They read pompous 
romances, or the essays of Bacon, or the carefully studied 
"characters" of Overbury and Earle. As was natural, 
they chose to express themselves through channels better 
suited than the short story to convey their criticism of life. 

So the Elizabethan novella died of natural causes. 
One asks curiously why it should have accomplished 
so little, for taste, the merciless, has never, perhaps, 
consigned a more promising cargo to oblivion. The 
reason is at least twofold. Time has shown that its 
writers practised a false style. The gentlest criticism 
must discover that they violated a fundamental law of 
narrative when they neglected to make the story the main 

It was the strain of rhetorical thought which brought 
on the artificial, tedious style of these stories, and it is 
in part this style which makes them hard reading to-day. 
But they failed primarily because the desire to tell a good 


Story was not uppermost in the minds of their authors. 
What was the story to Lyly! His business lay not in 
plot, but rather with such amusements as the English 
gentry of Euphues and his England sought in Petrarch: 
** It fell out that they turned to such a place, as turned 
them all to a blanke, where it was reasoned, whether 
love came at the sodeine viewe of beautie, or by long 
experience of vertue." His chief care was, as Nash puts 
it of Aretino, " to quintessence everie thing hee heard." 
And this was no ignoble task, since in the English tongue, 
which, according to Euphues, was *' almost barbarous," 
he had to express the finest contemporary thoughts on 
manners, morals, and life. No wonder the plot was over- 
loaded ! 

Thus, while by passages much can be found in the 
stories that is beautiful, vivid, and tragic, as complete 
books they do not belong to that eternally readable class 
of which Pilgrim's Progress and Robinson Crusoe are 
almost the first in English prose fiction. Yet this period, 
in which the short story for the second time is paramount, 
cannot be dismissed without due recognition of the solid 
gain in the art of narrative which we owe to it. The 
typical modern novel is a study of " society " in its 
narrower sense. Society is a creature of the renaissance, 
and is reflected confusedly in Fenton, Pettie, and Greene, 
clearly in Lyly, a quarter of a century before, in France 
and the Hotel de Rambouillet, it comes to consciousness 
and was expressed in the romances of Scudery. Again, 
it cannot be too strongly emphasized that moralizing, 
analyzing, working about, and under, and above the 
plot, is a virtue bom of the vice of these Elizabethans. 
And this was the method which led to Richardson and 


Fielding, nor has it ever failed since in English fiction. 
Least tangible, but certainly not least important, the 
good plot, the plot with a climax and a conclusion, came 
into prose fiction with the short story, and, in this 
period, for a while, at least, superseded the disunity of 
the romance. Of the two most notable eighteenth century 
novels, Tom Jones is built upon the plan of the ad- 
ventures of the picaro, but Clarissa Harlowe keeps 
together its enormous bulk by a seduction and its results, 
a tremendous elaboration of a plot used time and again 
by the Italian novelle. 

But what of the short story ! Evidently it has been the 
beast of all burden for the period. It has popularized 
the plots which the dramatists made famous. It has 
been the common carrier for all fiction ideas, and many 
only remotely related to fiction. It has performed all 
the services of the modern novel without its capability 
for such service — and has been ruined in the process. 
Throughout all the period it has been slipping from 
beneath our hands into something progenitory of this 
novel, and, at the end, the narratives that are still pro- 
fessedly short are neither excellent in themselves, nor 
suggestive of better to come. An age in which this 
form of fiction was more widely read, more widely prac- 
tised than all other literary narrative has not left us one 
short story of the first rank ! 

The loss was real, but it is not without gain. The 
English pen needed room, and took it, until from 
Painter's dozen pages we get to Richardson's three 
thousand. Character study and other qualities of sterling 
fiction had to be worked out in the large before there 
could be another and more successful cultivation of narra- 



tive in the small. In the meantime, while literary talent 
for brief narrative was expended upon "characters," 
sketches of manners, short novels, and such preliminary 
studies for the new fiction of the eighteenth century, 
the popularity of the Elizabethan collections, even after 
the creative period was past, helped to keep alive the 
tradition of a short story that was something more than 
an episode or a jest« 




WE are SO accustomed to think of the late seven- 
teenth century as the second flowering time of 
the drama that it is somewhat surprising, upon reading 
over its publishers* catalogues, to discover a mass of 
fiction as voluminous as the publications upon that 
favorite subject of the British reader of the Restoration, 
divinity. The bulk of this fiction was so jejune in 
content, so ephemeral in nature, so unoriginal in style, 
that it has left few remainders even in the greater libraries. 
Only a little of it can be called, without stretching the 
term, short narrative, but that little has more than a 
modicum of interest for itself and for its relation to earlier 
and to later works. Yet the period permits of, almost 
requires, a cursory treatment in which types, tendencies, 
and influences are to be treated as abundantly as individual 
books. The great preponderance of translations make^ 
this method all the more advisable, and it is justified by the 
deadly inferiority of most of the works. However, there 
are some masterpieces, and not a little curious forgotten 



It is a mistake, as Jusserand has shown, to suppose 
that in the period of the G)mmonwealth the English 
were not reading fiction. The numerous reprints of 
Elizabethan favorites, some of which were mentioned in 
the preceding chapter, the translations of the heroic 
romances of Scudery and others, prove the contrary. 
Compact evidence of a good stock of accessible fiction is to 
be found in the bibliography compiled by Walter Begley 
for his edition of Nova Solyma, the Latin romance attrib- 
uted to John Milton. Such philosophico-heroic romance 
as is there included, with reprints of Greene, Ford, and 
Lodge, seems to have been the main diet of these English 
readers. But they wrote no fiction of considerable amount 
or quality, and there is nothing accessible from this period, 
either from Scotland or from England, which it has 
seemed needful to include in the development of the short 

The heroic romance, a library in one work, and the 
fashionable fiction of Europe at this time, was the very 
antithesis of the short story. These ponderous, horribly 
inflated compositions kept their preeminence among Eng- 
lish narratives throughout the Commonwealth and Restora- 
tion periods, and begin to disappear from the catalogues 
only towards the end of the century. But, from about the 
beginning of Charles IPs reign, a much less voluminous 
kind of fiction appears in English. Only occasionally does 
it assume the form of what we, to-day, would call a 
short story, and yet the type so closely resembles the 
novella discussed in the last chapters that it asks for at 
least a cursory investigation. An amorous intrigue, pub- 
lished in one volume, with characters whose names indicate 
rank, and often concealed a real person of quality, it was 


narrative eminently befitting a gallant, somewhat corrupt 
society, living according to the etiquette of a chivalry 
which had lost its vigor, and tinctured with the charming 
insincerity of decadence. These stories were usually called 
** novels," although, if their nature was frankly scandalous, 
an alternative title, ** secret history," suggested that there 
was truth behind. Arber's reprint of the publisher's 
term catalogues throws interesting light on their career. 
From 1670 on, they increase very steadily in number. 
French influence was paramount at court then, and " from 
the French *' is attached to almost every story, the trans- 
lator being either entirely anonymous, or ''a person of 
quality." About 1681 English authors begin to be fairly 
numerous. The output of all kinds continues until 1693, 
original works by Englishmen sharing the field with 
translations from the French and Spanish, and then there 
is a sudden falling off. Up to 1709, when the reprint 
of the catalogue ceases, the novel never regains its old 
importance among other forms of publications. People 
seem to have ceased writing fiction; and to have lost 
interest in reading it, for reprints are rare. A few collec- 
tions of these so<alled novels — one in 1696, one in 1699, 
one in 171 1; the Decameron, "accommodated to the 
gust of the present age," in 1701 ; the first translation of 
Galland's Arabian Nights in 1708; and perhaps a half 
dozen new stories, are all the items of interest here to 
be collected from nearly a score of years. Have the 
catalogues failed to include novels? This seems im- 
probable, for some of the principal publishers of fiction 
are represented to the end. Had the revolution of 1688 
turned the attention of readers to political publications, 
after that date less severely censored? Did an interest 


in memoirs and in travels, which now began to appear 
more frequently among published books, sap the popularity 
of fiction? The questions cannot be answered with cer- 
tainty. We can only note this strange wave of interest, 
and the trough which followed it, as preliminary to a 
nearer view of this novel itself, the novel as Dryden and 
Addison used the word, a story of usually about one 
hundred pages, sometimes more, often less, which, better 
than the periodicals, better than the verse, as well as 
the drama, preserves the very stamp of a gay, intriguing 
society, gallant, vicious, chivalrous in its way, and voluble 
without end. 

If one arises from a perusal of the aforesaid term 
catalogues with a list of titles and of authors* names on 
his note sheets, there will be few that histories of literature 
record, and many that all but the best of library catalogues 
will be strangers to. Carleton, Grenadine, Spence, Gibbs, 
Blackborn, almost all of them have passed, and their novels 
with them. But Scarron, Cervantes, Zayas, Villegas, 
Segrais (Mme. La Fayette), Behn, Congreve, Manley, 
Haywood, remain in greater or less fame among thq 
innumerable " persons of quality " and professional writers 
who composed or translated the feigned and true intrigues 
which were read by society. From this latter list, diverse 
as it is in period, character, fame, and race, we can get 
the best idea of what the seventeenth and early eighteenth 
century called a novel. 

The nature of this ur-novel is well defined by the most 
famous of its English authors. The dramatist, William 
Congreve, began his literary career in 1692 with a short 
story. Incognita: or Love and Duty Reconciled. The 
edition of 17 13 contains a sprightly preface to the reader, 


which, being signed Cleophil, the pseudonym under which 
G)ngrcve first wrote^ is presumably reprinted from the 
earliest edition. I quote his contribution to the criticism 
of fiction: 

** Romances are generally composed of the Constant 
Loves and invincible G)urages of Hero's, Heroins, Kings 
and Queens, Mortals of the first Rank, and so forth; 
where lofty Language, miraculous Contingencies and im- 
possible Performances, elevate and surprize the Reader 
into a giddy Delight, which leaves him flat upon the 
Ground whenever he gives of, and vexes him to think 
how he has suffered himself to be pleased and transported, 
concern'd and afflicted at the several Passages which he 
has Read, viz., these Knights Success to their Damosels 
Misfortunes, and such like, when he is forced to be very 
well convinced that 'tis all a lye. Novels are of a more 
familiar Nature; Come near us, and represent to us 
Intrigues in practice, delight us with Accidents and odd 
Events, but not such as are wholly unusual or un- 
presidented, such which not being so distant from our 
Belief bring also the pleasure nearer us. Romances give 
more of Wonder, Novels more Delist." 

It is clear that the young Congreve had gauged the 
values of the heroic romance. That in choosing to strive 
for the " delight " of the novel in his writing, he wished 
to put in practice intrigues which would be realistic, and 
more nearly contemporary in action and setting than the 
loves of the romance. If one uses " realistic " in a relative 
sense, such indeed is the nature of all these novels, for 
the gallant, idle, shameless intriguers who move through 
their pages are vouched for in the history of the times, 
in other forms of literature, and in art. But the realism 


is very relative. Fiction was still under the influence 
of Ford and Lodge, of Scudery, and of Boyle. This 
early novel at most approximated locality, actions, cos- 
tiunes, occasionally the language of the times; and just 
this far was truth as compared with the '^ lye " of the 
romance. The commonest variety, both in translation and 
in imitation, was a tale in which a young and handsome 
cavalier, usually a student, meets, in a strange city, with 
an adventure, from which he emerges insanely amorous 
of a beautiful unknown, and, after an exchange of court- 
eous letters, and several conflicts and disasters, is happily 
united to one who proves to be the prime heiress of the 
state. Provide, as frequent alternate, a much less inno- 
cent afiFair, but with equivalent circumstances, supply the 
overstrained gallantry of the French, and the sense of 
reality of the Spaniard, and one has the typical seventeenth 
century novel. 

These narratives are in the borderland. They are 
not often short stories, although they have that unity 
of action which, so far in fiction, only the short narrative 
had attained. They are never novels in our sense of the 
word. Novelette better fits them. But it is clear, 
whether one considers the unified intrigue plot, the basis 
of history or pseudo-history, or the attempted truth to 
contemporary life, that they stem directly from the 
English "history," or French histoire, of the previous 
age, which once had been the quasi-historical Italian 
novella. They represent this novella as it had been con- 
tinued, and altered, in France and in Spain, during the 
years of Euphuism and romance in England. The setting 
is usually of these two former countries, the story is longer 
and approaches more nearly to the comprehensiveness of 


our novel. It is written solely to amuse, and no longer 
carries a burden of information, as with the Euphuists, 
unless, indeed, it be regarded as a text-book in gallantry 
and amorous sin. Yet " novel " is novella adapted " to 
the gust of the present age»" as no reader can doubt. 
Thus we are justified in passing into the borderland of 
our subject, the field of the long-short and the short-long 
story, to discuss this narrative, not as a predecessor of 
the novel, but rather as a development of the short story 
of the renaissance. 

In England of the years succeeding the Stuart restora- 
tion, the novel, like the comedy, seems to have been diet 
for " society," the commonalty, with sense and truer taste, 
preferring more vigorous fiction, such as Pilgrim's Prog- 
ress provided for them. The translating of the French 
and Spanish stories was done by ** persons of quality *'— or 
so say the title-pages — and there are suggestions that even 
Charles himself took a hand. The imitations are not 
so anonymous. Their authors usually prove to be young 
gentlemen of The Temple aspiring to be called wits; or 
women, who are usually playwrights, or actresses, or 
both, and to whom far the most successful of the novels 
belong. This last is not surprising in the century of 
Mile. Scudery, and the matchless Orinda; it was to be 
expected as an aftermath of the preeminence among 
readers of fiction accorded the sex in the days of Euphues 
and the palaces of pleasure. 

Among these women who were writers of stories, Aphra 
Behn is easily first, in chronology and in merit alike. 
She was the first woman to write successful fiction in 
England since Marie of France, the first, therefore, in 
English; and as her one lasting story, unlike Mme. de 


La Fayette's Princess of Cleves, is not free from the 
complaints of contemporary fiction, but rather thoroughly 
enmeshed in the idiosyncrasies of the times, she and her 
best novel excellently serve a critical purpose. 

Aphra Behn flourished in the reign of Charles II, was 
traveler, plasrwright, political agent, wit, gay liver, as 
well as novelist. For her character, read the introduction 
to the edition of her novels of 1696, where a bosom friend, 
and a woman, gives the admirable Astrea ungrudging 
tribute for wit, sense, and beauty, and does not hesitate 
to call her novels incomparable. Of these novels it is 
Oroonoko which gained her most reputation, and Oroon- 
oho which is the only valuable narrative all the cultivation 
of the earliest novel has given us. This story she pub* 
lished with two others in July of 1688. 

Oroonoko was a noble prince of G)ramantien (the 
Coramandel coast?), a country of the blacks, where he 
lived a life of chivalry compounded of Oriental splendor 
and European gallantry. He is in love with a beautiful 
negress, Imoinda, a general's daughter. The king, the 
prince's grandfather, makes her his youngest wife. Oroon- 
oko still loves her secretly; their intrigue is discovered, 
Imoinda supposedly is slain, and the heroic Oroonoko 
passes through all the voluble agonies of the romantic 
hero. This is the first scene. The next is quite different. 
Oroonoko is invited, with his suite, aboard a visiting 
ship, decoyed below, captured, and with his lords sold 
into slavery. At this point Aphra's experience enters into 
the story. The plantations of Surinam in Guiana, where 
he finds himself, are those which Mrs. Behn, as a girl, 
had visited. The royal slave she unquestionably knew, 
and knew well. One does not doubt that when, at the 


desire of Charles II, she delivered to the world the 
misfortunes of Oroonoko, imagination colored the heroic 
life of the slave, as well as the romantic intrigue of the 
negro prince. But the recital of his slavery is too 
circumstantial to be suspected, before Defoe, of being 
fictitious. His fortitude, his high spirit, the revolt which 
he inspired, the brutal tortures he suffered, his fidelity 
to Imoinda, whom he finds a fellow-slave, all bear the 
print of truth as well as the increase of a romantic fancy. 
His death is told not only with Flaubertian realism but 
with the passion of one seeking to expose unjust officials 
who had been cruel to a friend. Furthermore, it is a real 
South America, with gorgeous vegetation, Indian villages 
most anthropologically described, armadilloes, and even 
electric eels, with a " quality so cold " that the catcher's 
arm is benumbed. I have seen many early " voyages " 
to the "other world," as Aphra always calls it, whose 
descriptions are less specific than the setting of this story. 
The peculiarity for which Oroonoko has always been 
celebrated is Rousseauism before Rousseau, the first 
attempt in fiction to celebrate the noble savage unspoiled 
by religion and laws. Oroonoko is undeniably such a 
figure, and yet, were it not for certain comments upon the 
fortunate state of the native Indians, we would be inclined 
to assign her exaltation of noble savagery in him to 
another reason, one more appropriate to the seventeenth 
century. Oroonoko, to be sure, retains certain engaging 
traits supposed to be inherent in the savage, such as 
honesty and sincerity, but these are overlaid by a sophis- 
ticated culture in which Aphra herself was an authority. 
Not mother nature, but a " French-man of Wit and 
Learning," had been his instructor, and taught him some 


of "those rcfin'd Notions of true Honour" which he 
possessed. He was capable of the " hi^est Passions of 
Love/' and, when put to the proof, he speaks and acts 
in the fashion rendered classical by the heroic romance. 
He could be hig^ philosophical. When Imoinda should 
be old he promised to retain " an eternal Idea in his Mind 
of the charms she now bore." When his mistress was 
snatched to the harem and " marble baths " of the king, 
he could lament like Orlando : " O my Friends ! were 
she in wall*d Cities, or confined from me in Fortifications 
of the greatest Strength; did Inchantments or Monsters 
detain her from me, I wou'd venture through any Hazard 
to free her." And, when the messenger brings false news 
of Imoinda's death, you have the mirror and model of 
the person of quality in a like situation: "Then, com- 
manding him to rise, he laid himself on a Carpet, under 
a rich Pavillion, and remain'd a good while silent, and 
was hardly heard to sigh. When he was come a little to 
himself, the Messenger ask'd him leave to deliver that part 
of his Embassy, which the Prince had not yet divin'd; 

And the Prince cry'd, I permit thee " 

In truth, the nobility, the heroism, the gallantry of 
Oroonoko are those of the typical romantic hero of all 
these gallant novels, a hero whose models were in The 
Grand Cyrus, The Liberal Lover, or Amadis itself, and 
it was the romantic hero as much as the unspoiled savage 
which Aphra sang. The novelty is that Mrs. Behn 
should have applied these qualities to a negro slave whose 
history, I can only believe after many readings, she wished 
to set forth with a reasonable degree of truth. Seem- 
ingly, it was not difficult for her romantic imagination 
to identify Caesar, a slave she knew upon the plantation 


at Surinam, with Oroonoko, who had been a prince in 
a court conducted with Oriental magnificence, who had 
been involved in intrigues identical with those in the 
"secret histories" of European courts, who spoke like 
Amadis, and lived the life of Palamon and Ardte! So 
great was the influence of the gallant intrigue, so pre- 
potent the theory of the romantic character, that the first 
English author to write a story where foreign character 
and foreign setting are handled with a thoroughgoing 
attempt at local color, is led, perhaps in all sincerity, 
to make a Louis XIV court out of a negro village in 
G>ramantien, a romantic prince from a young negro 
chief, and an intrigue full of decadent chivalry from a 
tribal squabble over wives I 

If the voice of French and Spanish heroes had not 
sounded so loudly in Mrs. Behn's ears, we should un- 
questionably have had a great book. Yet, with all its 
absurdities, Oroonoko is an exceedingly interesting story, 
something to be said of few English tales between Henry- 
son and Defoe. The power of the narrative is to be 
attributed somewhat to the unusual setting, a little to 
the character of the hero, still more to the plot's dramatic 
unfolding. The whole story of the court intrigue and 
the abduction of the prince is told as antecedent action, 
but welded to the story proper by an opening description 
of savage America, the lot of the slaves, and the noble 
appearance of Cassar, from whose mouth the tale of his 
life in freedom comes fresh and vividly. His persecution 
and death make up the major narrative, and it is this 
ordering of present and past, of major and minor events, 
which gives to the comparatively long tale the effect of 
a short story. Nearly all of these novels of the novella 


heritage possess plots which can easily be comprehended 
in one view, but the writer of Oroonoko profited by 
her dramatic experience to give to this unity an unusual 

The considerable originality of this long-short story is 
particularly creditable in view of its date, 1688, a time 
when a majority of the current stories were translations 
or sheer imitations of the Spanish and French. To such 
common ruck Mrs. Behn's other novels belong, only one. 
The Lucky Mistake, rising even to an excellence among 
the dashing, amorous tales of its type. But Oroonoko 
is at the same time more artificial, more heroic, and more 
romantic, also more truthful, more touching, and more 
vivid than all these others, and so unites in an English 
work the characteristics of one period, with qualities 
worthy of another. 

The next novel-writer of note is no less a personage 
than William Congrcve, who began his literary career 
with the sprightly narrative of some one hundred pages, 
Incognita: or Love and Duty Reconcil'd, seemingly first 
published in 1692, and thus antedating his plays. If 

Mrs. Behn's masterpiece was full of the spirit of the 
heroic romance, this slighter story is a purer, because less 
original, imitation of the dashing, slightly realistic, in- 
triguing novel which both French and Spaniards affected. 
It is a replica in style and atmosphere, with added wit, 
if lessened vigor, of Cervantes' exemplary novel of the 
two students of Bologna and the imfortunate Cornelia. 
In the English story, two friends, both students, both 
noble, one Italian and one Spanish, come in disguise to 
a wedding-festival in Florence; there fall in love with 
two ladies at a masquerade, and pursue an exciting intrigue 


through a maze of false identities. The young G>ngreve 
made rather good work of this, much better than critics 
of his infinitely superior comedies have been willing to 
admit. If, in conformity with the times, he had not 
given us an overplus of intrigue, the story would have 
been creditable, even for him. But, as it is, one must 
cultivate a taste for the brilliant, shifting, unreal action 
of these novels or the intentions of the novelist will be 
more interesting than his performance. Congreve was 
modest. " There is no possibility," he says, " of giving 
that life to the Writing or Repetition of a Story which it 
has in the Action." And for these stories, where con- 
ventionalized characters moved through an intrigue, 
Congreve was right. With Incognita, the most brilliant 
form of seventeenth century novel had its best trial in 
English — and, after its vogue in his own generation, the 
story seems never to have been reprinted. 

Incognita was published at the very end of the first 
period of the popularity in England of the short novel. 
In the next three decades, collections of stories came into 
vogue, in which Cervantes* Exemplary Novels were 
alwa3rs staple, but I can find no evidence of much new 
fiction of this variety (although an abundance in the later 
styles of Defoe and Addison) until two more women, 
Mrs. Manley and Mrs. Haywood, took up the pen. 

Mrs. Manley was an experienced fabricator of secret 
histories, a playwright, and a woman-about-town of not 
very doubtful reputation. Her contribution to short 
narrative is to be found in The Power of Love: in Seven 
Novels, published in 1720. This book was successful, 
and justly so, for, though weak in execution, slovenly 
in style, hypocritical in tone, and utterly deficient in study 


of character, there is a certain lively succession of incident 
which holds the interest, even to the distress of the critical 
faculties. Presumably, the stories are not entirely original. 
'* These Novels, Madam, have truth for their foundation ; 
several of the facts are to be found in Ancient History," 
she says in her introduction. A large number are laid 
in Savoy or its neighborhood. Perhaps Mrs. Manley was 
poaching upon some French collection. They vary con- 
siderably in content: — a tragic episode of Roman love, 
a romantic tale of the exiled daughter of an emperor, 
who turns peasant with her lover, a fabliau in prose, 
and the usual intrigues, though here possessed of some 
distinction of plot. Nearly all begin with the familiar 
discourse on love or the passions, nearly all contain letters 
in a highly ornate style. Indeed, the Elizabethan novella 
makes almost its last stand in this collection, for, sans 
Euphuism, sans surplus discourse, sans madrigal, sans 
style, and sans beauty, it is revealed as an enduring 
tradition the instant the writer steps down from the un- 
realities of high romance. Aside from this interesting re- 
semblance to her forbears, Mrs. Manley is scarcely worth 
remembering. Her dialogue is abominably inflated, her 
taste not of the most delicate, and her stories interesting 
only because she had the story-teller's knack without his 

The career of Mrs. Eliza Haywood (i693?-i7S6) is 
in many respects parallel to that of Mrs. Manley, though 
somewhat later. Like her predecessor, Mrs. Haywood 
was a gay liver, who dealt in amours, secret histories, and 
intrigues of every nature. But Mrs. Haywood was far 
more prolific, and as she wrote on well down into the 
time when The Spectator and The Tatler on one hand, 


Defoe and the great mid-century novelists on the other, 
had set new models for fiction, she is historically somewhat 
more interesting. Her novels, like all of this group, are 
only short stories by accident, yet they are significant 
because they show the tradition of the old ** history " 
again, but now passing over into, combining with, and 
giving place to, the story drawn from contemporary, local 
life, and told with some pretence to a moral ^reflection. 

Her Secret Histories, Novels, and Poems (2d ed. 1725) 
are largely made up of comparatively long stories in the 
romantico-bombastico fashion. But of greater interest are 
the more realistic stories, entitled secret histories of late 
amours. In the partial realism of these narratives, 
Haywood was following the Spanish and the better 
tradition, but she uses too much of nature and too little 
of art. The stories are filthy, nauseously hypocritical, 
and, with one exception, not well told. Fantomina; or 
Love in a Maze is the exception in narrative skill, but 
otherwise typical of them all. A woman of rank, to 
satisfy an inordinate lust, carries on a series of intrigues 
with a blase rake, renewing his passion after each ex- 
tinction of the flame by throwing herself in his path with 
a newly assumed identity. The tale, which is only thirty- 
four pages long, begins like a short story of the next 
century: "A young Lady of distinguished Birth, Beauty, 
Wit, and Spirit, happened to be in a Box one Night at 
the Playhouse," and proceeds more shamelessly than the 
worst of the Restoration drama. Yet it is simple, effec- 
tive, not unskilful narrative. 

In fact, this story, and all of Mrs. Haywood's which 
deal with the life of the town, are but expanded versions, 
spiced to taste, of the brief intrigue narratives which serve 


as exempla for many papers in The Toiler and The Spec- 
tator. They come after these papers and, though so 
different in actual, not assumed, purpose, may, nevertheless, 
represent some part of that influence for the study of 
manners which emanated so powerfully from the period- 
icals. This presumption is furthered by her assertions 
(miserably shallow) of a moral purpose, and by her close 
relations with Steele, to whom she dedicates one of her 
novels. Her debt to The Spectator is further declared 
in periodicals of which she was the editor. One of them. 
The Female Spectator (1744-46), is a melange of narra- 
tives with some comments on the times. Begun as a 
series of reflections by several female characters, it de- 
generates into a mass of intrigue stories, like Fantomina, 
but slighter, mingled with scandak in true Town Topics 
style. Here the old intrigue-novel, its heroics, its romance, 
even its rhetoric gpne, deliquesces into a corrupt imitation 
of the essayists, and so capitulates to the most vigorous 
enemies of the libertine society by which it was bred. 

The nature and progress of this earliest novel are now, 
perhaps, clear. It was the novella, or rather that type 
of the novella which the Elizabethans called "history," 
a little expanded, still retaining some of the rhetoric of 
the raffineurs and the unrealities of the romance, charged 
with more intrigue and more gallantry, but too often 
emptied of the little truth to life which it had possessed. 
Straining toward the real novel, it lacked at all times 
(at least in England) the good stuff of character, life, 
or emotions which could properly extend it, and still 
preserved, in the majority of cases, the compact plot and 
unified action of its parent short story. It was driven 
out of existence by two potent enemies, the periodical 


essay, which attacked the artificial, often thoroughly im- 
moral life pictured by these novelists, the real novel of 
Richardson and Fielding, whose portraits of humanity 
were more vigorous and true. It died with the last of 
the generation which patronized the Restoration drama, 
hated the House of Hanover, and still believed that 
gallantry, which they spelled honor, was life's ruling 
motive, and therefore the only proper subject for fiction. 
Its best monument in our libraries is A Select Collection 
of Novels and Histories in Six Volumes, by Samuel 
Croxall, first edition 1722, second, with additions, 1729, 
beyond which, with the exception of the works men- 
tioned on the preceding pages, no reader in all likelihood 
will find it profitable to gp. 


After prose narrative gets upon its feet, it is both 
necessary and advisable to keep away from verse in study- 
ing fiction, for, once a satisfactory narrative prose is 
established, the poetical tale is sure to have purposes which 
differ from those of prose. But, since the very best narra- 
tive at the end of the seventeenth century {Pilgrim's 
Progress excepted) is in Dryden's verse, and, more par- 
ticularly, because Chaucer's stories reappear there in the 
only successful adaptation to the taste of another agfi 
Dryden's Fables cannot be passed by. 

These famous translations of Chaucer, Boccaccio, Ovid, 
and Homer appeared in the year 1700. The poet's ex- 
cursions into such fields is in keeping with the fashions 
of the age — a time of translations, and particularly, as 
has just been shown, of translations from fiction. But 
the learned Mr. Dryden left French and Spanish novels 


to " persons of quality " and hacks. The impulse which 
led him, at some time in the early nineties, to think of 
making copy of Chaucer was scholarly rather than popular. 
His book was helped on its way, perhaps, by the taste 
for " novels," and even by a strong liking, abundantly 
evidenced in the term catalogues, for the short narratives 
of .£sop, Poggio, and Alphonsus, a liking which may 
have suggested Fables as his title. Nevertheless, its 
genesis was due to a scholar's predilection, and a desire 
to put worthy poetry " into our language, as it is now 

The resulting work, its fluency, its high polish, is 
known to all connoisseurs of good verse. But in re- 
introducing the medieval stories, with which, among his 
translations, we are chiefly concerned, has Dryden recast 
the story's form ? Have we seventeenth century narrative 
as well as seventeenth century verse ? I quote a significant 
passage from his preface : '' the genius of our countrymen, 
in general, being rather to improve an invention than 
to invent themselves, as is evident not only in our poetry, 
but in many of our manufactures." To improve was 
evidently his purpose. How then does he set to work 
to gild this refined gold, and how much is meant by this 

To begin with, Drydcn's book is no mere take-over 
into a more modem vocabulary, like William Browne's 
story of Jonathas in the first elegy of The Shepheard's 
Pipe (1614). It is the attempt of a real man of letters 
to do what an obscure William Painter seems to have 
tried (so say the publishers' lists) in his Chaucer New 
Painted, in 1623. But the change is solely in length, 
and in diction. For instance, Dryden's Wife of Bath's 


Tale is more than a third longer than Chaucer's quaint 
and exquisite story. Naturally enough, the compacted 
phrases of so careful a writer as Chaucer must su£kr 
expansion at the hands of the most skilful of adapters, 
but this inevitable dilation is not all. Dryden was a 
satirist by profession, Chaucer only by humor. When- 
ever the opportunity presents itself in this story of unequal 
marriage, the author of Absolom and Achitophel adds his 
palpable hit: 

"The king himself, to nuptial ties a slave. 
No bad example to his poets gave. 
And they, not bad, but in a vicious age, 
Had not, to please the prince, debauched the stage." 

This practice holds equally in The Cock and the Fox, 
where the satire is more open than any in which Chaucer's 
Nun's Priest indulged, and less artistic. The hand 
of the dramatist also shows itself; proper speeches are 
given to minor characters, description is more specific, 
and the Restoration stage does not fail to be reflected in 
a careful emphasis upon such delicate situations as the 
amorous adventure which puts the Wife of Bath's knight 
in peril of his life, an emphasis quite unbefitting a trans- 
lator who professed to choose only such tales as contained 
an " instructive moral." 

But the greatest change is naturally in the diction, 
and it is here, presumably, that Dryden supposed his 
improvement to lie. In part he was right. The stories 
slip from point to point with a smoothness whose artifi- 
ciality is soon forgotten in admiration of the skill, and 
thankfulness for the ease of reading. The couplets run 
upon ball-bearings, and spin on with the celerity of a 
well-oiled motor: 


" The crested bird shall by experience know, 
Jove made not him his masterpiece below. 
And learn the latter end of joy is woe." 

If it is the e£Fect of the whole one considers, as in so 
many French stories, Dryden's style has certain advantages. 
If it is the pith, the melody of lines, Chaucer's is very 
much better, for the rhetoric ironed into rime, which 
is the material of some part of these poems, as of all 
poems by the coupleteers, sends us back to the original 
with renewed thankfulness that Middle English is not so 
imintelligible as Dryden supposed. 

Boccaccio was safer game for the translator. The 
tales of Theodore and Honoria, of Cymon and Iphegenia, 
of Sigtsmonda and GuUcardo, all taken over from the 
Italian, are admirable. They were very susceptible of 
poetic treatment; again, they were none of them worked 
out originally with the humor which penetrates human 
nature, and was not always within Dryden's grasp. It 
is interesting to see how thoroughly his method does 
improve these stories — ^makes them flow, heightens and 
makes real their e£Fects, increases, sometimes twofold, the 
felicities of their phrasing, and polishes the whole. 
Boccaccio himself might have approved the change; 
Chaucer would have smiled a little sadly at his new garb. 

Dryden, in sum, is only a polisher, for in both Italian 
and English stories all the plot-points belong to the 
originals, and all the character too. This critical ex- 
cursus, indeed, is justified only by the absolute, as opposed 
to the relative, value of his product. Dryden merely 
repainted the old to suit the taste of his own day. The 
experiment has given us some of the easiest, if not the 
most pungent, verse in English. But, except on prosody. 


and on the fashion of translating and adapting in rime 
which the eighteenth century continued, there seems to 
be no historical influence emanating from these Fables, 
I find, in 1701, a little pamphlet called Canterbury Tales, 
Rendered into Familiar Verse, Written by no Body, 
which proves to be almost no Thing, mere i&opic fables 
made political. Again, Mrs. Manley writes of the facts 
from ancient history said to underly her aforesaid Power 
of Love: in Seven Novels, " I have attempted, in modern 
English, to draw them out of Obscurity, with the same 
Design as Mr. Dryden had in his tales from Boccace and 
Chaucer." The xesemblance, however, ceases at this 
point. If there was a result from the reappearance of 
the good old fabliau, lai, and novella in the seventeenth 
century, it is to be found in later poetry, not in prose. 
The public who read Chaucer and Boccaccio in Dryden's 
verse went to Mrs. Behn, Congreve, and, later, Manley 
and Haywood for their prose fiction, seeking and finding 
there a narrative style which was the very antithesis of 
all the excellencies they found in the verse, and a kind 
of story-telling as different as it was inferior. 




THE critic who can set the date when the so-called 
eighteenth century poetry began, should perform 
a like service for the new school of eighteenth century 
narrative. Or, perhaps, the historian of tastes and morals 
would be more successful, for it was when the gay 
libertinism of the Restoration first lost modishness that 
the intriguing, loose-mannered, artificial novel of the 
seventeenth century began its decline. Just as soon as 
the reform of les moeurs brought literature into its 
service, the new narrative of the eighteenth century was 
potentially present. Manley and Haywood are already 
a little out of tone with their times. In the dedication 
of Mrs. Haywood's somewhat immoral Lasselia, written 
about 1725, there is an assertion (insincere of course) 
which runs thus, " My design in writing this little Novel 
(as well as those I have formerly published) being only 
to remind the unthinking Part of the World, how danger- 
ous it is to give way to Passion." This is enough to 
show that didactic stories were in style. 

But there was more than didacticism in this new narra- 
tive. The short stories now to be considered, in their 
humble way are part and parcel of that movement to 
picture, to study, and to reform English manners, tastc^ 



and morals, where Queen Anne was patroness, Addison, 
Steele, Swift, and Pope the champions in literature. The 
beginnings of this new fiction are in the short story. The 
cause of it was the change in taste which we name the 
Queen Anne period. The materials may be come at by 
following several paths that occasionally interlace. For 
the first quarter of the new century, Steele and Addison, 
Defoe, and the Oriental tale are of prime importance. 

A criticism of manners, a graceful realism, the two 
prime characteristics of the narratives of the new age, 
are to be found in that intermediate period at the close 
of the seventeenth century when the time of the Augustans 
was preparing. For example, there are periodicals before 
The Tatler, which show in a most interesting fashion 
the short novel of intrigue, in this instance passing over 
into the sketch of contemporary manners. The Gentle- 
mans Journal: or the Monthly Miscellany By way of 
Letter to a Gentleman in the Country is an example. 
This little magazine of verse, criticism, and fiction, edited 
by the Huguenot, P. A. Motteux, ran at least from 
1692 to 1694. Fvery number contained a so<alled 
" novel," a story of from six to nine pages, usually 
as rakish and as gallant as the liveliest of the octavo 
volumes which passed under the same name. Yet it is 
not shortness alone which distinguishes these magazine 
stories from the seventeenth century novel of intrigue. 
For they are all tales about town ; the Wells, Kensington, 
London are the scenes, home-bred instead of French and 
Spanish gallants the heroes. Sometimes a ribald incident 
is all the meat of the story, but very often the intrigues 
are put in motion by an evident desire to make narrative 
of the vices and hiunors of the city; doting women, 


conceited men, deluded gamblers irresistibly suggest the 
familiar figures of the periodical essayists. There is The 
Witchcraft of Gaming, where play brings a wife to ruin, 
The Noble Statuary, or how a widow was weak and a 
stone-cutter presumptuous, The Fain Glorious Citt, whose 
title is sufficiently suggestive. The tales themselves are 
casual, often coarse, sometimes so old-fashioned as to be 
almost Euphuistic, but studies, however slight, of home- 
bred life they assuredly are, and one feels the eighteenth 
century in each attempt to put to use the humors of the 

Another straw pointing with the wind which was 
blowing in the new century, is to be found in the pop- 
ularity, already mentioned, of the translations and adap- 
tations of iEsop abundant all through the end of the 
seventeenth century. Who could have bought all these 
repeated versions of the same sets of fables? Certainly 
the sale was not confined to the schools, for many, at least 
in pretence, are evidently literary. The mystery is partly 
solved if one looks through the folio Fables of Msop 
(1692) by the king's press-censor. Sir Roger L'Estrange, 
a book of which The Gentleman s Journal could say, 
" England may boast now of the best Collection of fables 
in the World." In truth, it is possibly the stupidest 
in fable, for here the old favorites are almost lost among 
a multitude of silly anecdotes whose only merit is a very 
pungent style. The " Reflexions," lively moral essays con- 
cluding each fable, must have sold the book. Indeed, a 
taste for reflections upon morals and les moeurs must have 
led to these translations and new adaptations from the 
fabulists, a taste much grosser, to judge by results, than 
that of the French, who were applauding La Fontaine's 


exquisite stories at about the same period. It was the 
same predilection which seized upon the Oriental tales 
when in 1708 they began to come over from France, and 
welcomed, in The Tatler, the first successful English 
achievements in the new reflective narrative. 


The literary phenomenon of this first quarter of the 
century was the birth of The Tatler in 1709, and its 
perfection in The Spectator (1711-1714). In these two 
periodicals, thanks to their scope and the genius of their 
authors, is to be found the very cream of Queen Anne 
fiction. Indeed,- it is astonishing to learn by investigation 
how much pure narrative they contain. The librarian 
who catalogues them under essays has fulfilled only the 
letter of the law. Addison to-day is known as " the 
author of the de Coverley papers " ; critidsms of Milton, 
discourses on manners, moral reflections are food now only 
for the particular reader, and the periodical essays survive 
mainly through their stories and narrative sketches. 

And yet very little of this narrative is written for its 
own sake. The stories are told for what lies behind 
them, for the application which would be made at London 
tables, for the thrusts at the errors of society, by means 
of Lindimira, Betty Simple, the old beau, the rake, the 
gambler, in their pitiable or ridiculous positions. Never- 
theless, these tales are no mere pendants to the essays 
which they illustrate and adorn. If this had been the 
case, such miniature fictions could never have established 
a narrative fashion which ran its course for a good 
hundred years. In them, a subtle transfusion has taken 
place, a mingling of the spirits of the essay and the 


narrative, so that, unlike their medieval parallel, the 
exemplum with its independent sermon, the stories of 
this Queen Anne literature embrace the essential qualities 
of both tale and moral. The genius of Addison and 
Steele has been preservative; since the Spectator and 
Tatler are in every library, examples of this peculiarity 
may be forborne. Sir Roger de Coverley is the finest 
fruit of it, a perfect study of the more attractive weak- 
nesses of man, embodied in a narrative portrait. The 
minor stories of deserted belles, fops, pedants, and all 
the panorama of society's foibles are even more typical, 
for they never fail to throw darts, whether blunt or 
pointed, at the manners, morals, and customs of the times. 
The flavor of the eighteenth century, which pervades 
every line of narrative in these two famous periodicals, 
comes very largely from this persuasive didacticism, from 
the urbanely satirical view of society which is the motive 
force of the sketches. It is the result of a thoroughly 
objective criticism, dealing with surface mainly, con- 
cerned with affectation, and with a tendency to regard 
the most serious vices as excrescences which may be 
poL'shed away by means of some standard of good manners. 
The style, of course, is excellent. But no stories ever 
succeeded, with style and a " lesson '' as their only 
reconmiendations. It is not easy to make clear the 
periodical narrative's additional excellence. It is not plot. 
A lack of interest in plot per se is common to all this 
potpourri of intrigues, character sketches, situations, and 
anecdotes. They are merely studies for stories. They 
are not good short stories, if the phrase be used technically. 
Even the best of them, the adventures of Sir Roger, are 
but fragmentary sketches which give us no story, but a 


most delightful character limned out by suggestive word 
and casual acts, and growing into unforgetable likeness 
by the vigor, the truth, the mellowness of the conceiving, 
rather than by any completeness of presentation. A 
good story, as the populace of 17 lO understood it, was 
to be found in Behn, Scarron, or Cervantes. This minor 
narrative art of Addison and Steele was quite different. 
It had for its purpose not events but character, and not 
characters like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, who, 
between them, stand for Spain, but more superficial 
evidences of the inner human nature: the lady, " a perfect 
mistress of the fan," who hesitates between a rich lover 
and an amorous one. Dapper and Tranquillius, Mrs. 
Petulant, and the Female Salamander. Thus one finds 
in these periodical short stories a mixed art, part story, 
part character sketch, part criticism, a true art for its 
place and for its purposes. Indeed, it is their efficiency 
which gives to them their peculiar excellence. They 
embody, not dead in essays, but alive in narrative, the 
criticism of manners so characteristic of their age. 

It is clear that for such work a short story was needed. 
It is also clear that the restrictions of the periodical essay 
made a short story desirable. Indeed, one finds it difficult 
to imagine, in any other narrative medium, the humors 
of Steele, and the kindly satire of Addison, which touched 
upon fault and folly in turn. From the start, the period- 
ical essayists seized upon the short story, and they used 
it abundantly to the end. A final discussion of the 
characteristics of their narrative, and the Eastern tales 
which were adopted for it, may wait until the mid-century 
when the type had, so to speak, hardened, and the writers 
were more conscious of the story form they used. The 


practice of Addison and Steele shows, however, that a 
period busily engaged in enumerating the traits of its 
own society, found most valuable a short story which was 
realistic, pointed to cogency, told neither all for the moral, 
nor all for the picture of life, and the more effective 
for its brevity. 

It is a curious problem to endeavor, while turning over 
the pages of the two most famous English periodicals, 
to make some further separation among the elements of 
merit which made The Spectator and The Tatler so 
welcome to their first readers. If we leave aside their 
peculiar value as essays — " masters of common life " Dr. 
Johnson called their authors — and concern ourselves with 
the narrative aspect solely, then, still further narrowing 
the view, pass over style, urbanity, wit, and the humorous 
apprehension of mankind, in eighteenth century society, 
there remains a truthful representation of life as the 
authors saw it, realism as opposed to the fantasies of the 
heroic romance. It was the popular opinion that the 
characters who appeared in The Tatler were real. But 
whether they were Mrs. Astell, Bishop Blackall, Ratdiff, 
and Ame is of little importance. The interesting cir- 
cumstance is that all this troupe of actors spoke and 
behaved like the Londoners of the day, a feat which prose 
fiction, so far, and upon any scale, had not accomplished 
in England. 

Nor is this successful verisimilitude to be ascribed 
entirely to the necessity of describing life as it was if 
the vices and weaknesses of this life were to be exposed, 
for the stiffest and most unreal of allegories could be, 
and sometimes was, used to illustrate the essays. To 
coin a word, a more probable cause was the ultraspective 


spirit of the age succeeding the Stuarts. After an ex- 
haustive tussle in the seventeenth century with religion 
and politics, the mind concerned itself with less soul- 
rending matters, and gladly fell to correcting the manners 
of the time. And realism was bound to follow, for there 
is no better realist, as Jane Austen has proved, than he 
or she who pursues departures from the norm in conduct, 
emotions, and beliefs. Indeed, the swing to realism which 
these periodical narratives represent was due to a Zeitgeist; 
and for this statement Daniel Defoe, a contemporary 
of the essayists, is high evidence. 


It is unnecessary to repeat what has been said so often 
of Defoe. Every one knows from Robinson Crusoe, if 
from nowhere else, his plain narrative, simple to excess, 
crammed with matter-of-fact, unhurried like life, and, 
like life, too, not free from the insignificant and inessential. 
Every one knows that Defoe is father of the prose which 
can grip our interest by its verisimilitude, the prose which 
reflects daily life in the way which we ourselves apprehend 
it in experience, the prose of journalism. A glance at 
his predecessors of the seventeenth century only empha- 
sizes his unique position. The pamphleteers, Nash some- 
times, Breton more often, Deloney with some success, 
drew a little ordinary experience into their pages, but 
they succeeded by borrowing the methods of the comedy 
writers, not by a new departure in prose style. A little 
later, Taylor, the water poet, has a story in the fashion 
of a report. The Unnatural Father, which suggests the 
coming realistic fashion of Defoe. But the stepping- 
stones to the latter's realism are to be found more abun- 


dantly in the character-books and collections of letters of 
the seventeenth century, and in the writings of another 
unique figure, John Bunyan. Yet no earlier writer, except 
Bunyan for his special purposes, was able to tell a 
perfectly simple story of the commonest events and get 
for it exactly the same kind of interest one gives to 
the events of his own hour and day, which are interesting 
because they happen in his sight. Defoe could, and did 
so, pouring out, certainly without great effort, an enormous 
amount of fiction which bore this stamp, pouring it out, 
evidently, because it was wanted; getting a hearing, as 
may be seen from the short narratives shortly to be dis- 
cussed, not for style, satire, character analysis, or moral 
purpose, but because he made the commonplace or thQ 
unusual events about which he wrote seem absolutely 

The best of this work, of course, is in his novels, which 
we are estopped from considering, yet this very limitation 
makes it possible to take up seme interesting minor 
concordances in which Defoe shows himself a child of 
his time. To begin with, there is a library of short 
stories, varying in merit, none wonderful, but all interest- 
ing, and scattered through his different treatises. The 
History and Reality of Apparitions is richest, A System 
of Magic has several, A Journal of the Plague Year one 
good one more^ The Life and Adventures of Mr. Duncan 
Campbell many less considerable, and several independent 
stories can be added to the group. 

The Apparition of Mrs. Veal is one of these separate 
publications, the earliest attempt (1706) of its author in 
fiction, and one of the most representative. Structure this 
tale has apparently none, elegance none, climax none. 


The writer's powers arc all directed toward a single 
end — ^you arc to believe. For this, Defoe rambles on in 
a semi-pathetic, most bourgeois style, which is exactly the 
medium for the meeting of the homely Mrs. Bargrave, 
whose husband had broken all her trinkets, and Mrs. 
Veal in her scoured silk, who came to the door on the 
8th of September as the clock struck twelve noon. They 
talk of friendship, of death, of heaven; Mrs. Veal 
departs; then comes the significant phrase, "Mrs. Veal 
died the 7th of September, at twelve o'clock at noon, 
of her fits," and the game between writer and reader 
is on. Defoe wins and wins easily. Every doubt is 
prepared for, every probable attendant circumstance is 
present. Even the slip of the verbal story-teller is 
not forgotten; " I should have told you before that Mrs. 
Veal told Mrs. Bargrave that her sister and brother-in- 
law were just come down from London to see her. Says 
Mrs. Bargrave : ' How came you to order matters so 
strangely?' * It could not be helped,' sa)rs Mrs. Veal." 

This is not a pretty art, but it is very useful. Its 
excellencies are repeated in tales of the supernatural, to 
be found in the History of Apparitions; and most interest- 
ingly in that more probable story of the Plague Year, 
which begins, " Says John, the biscuit baker, one day 
to Thomas, his brother, the sail-maker. Brother Tom, 
what will become of us? The plague grows hot in the 
city, and encreases this way: What shall we do? " 

Casual, less valuable as literature, are the slight narra- 
tive sketches contributed by Defoe in his later life to a 
number of journals, articles collected and published by 
the assiduity of William Lee, in Daniel Defoe: His Life 
and recently discovered Writings: extending from IJ16 to 


iT2g. The most interesting are the contributions to 
Mist's and to Applebee's journals, 1716-1722. Here is 
a perfect storehouse of plots. Strange that it has not 
been more often tapped, before this, by later story-tellers. 
The fiction, most of it, is in the manner of The Tatler 
rather than The Spectator, brief anecdotes, intrigues, 
mishaps, complications reflecting on the follies of the 
times, occasionally on its vices, all vividly real, all amusing, 
but all in sketch-form merely. Best, is the delightful 
series of South Sea stories, playing about the humors of 
the great bubble and the misadventures from its breaking, 
most brilliant among them A South Sea Wife {Applebee's, 
March 25, 1721). Hundreds of figures from the town 
walk through these pages; a list, indeed, would seem to 
be drawn from The Spectator, except that the use of 
stock-brokers and tradesmen as heroes, shows plainly that 
these journals were less exclusively society organs. But 
the stories they contain, in purpose are of one piece with 
the narratives of the more famous periodicals, just as 
in style they are like Defoe's other and better known 
experiments of realism. 

Yet these narratives, all of them, are to be carefully 
distinguished from the short story as it was practised in 
earlier and in later centuries. The tale of the Argonauts 
of the plague has no climax; when the plague stops it 
stops too. The stories of apparitions all break off when 
their reality seems well established, and from an interest- 
ing plot we are instantly sprung into a discussion of proofs 
that it was not the devil who appeared, or, into equally 
unwelcome stuff. Thus some splendid plots, some wonder- 
ful narrative, but no finished stories. This is typical 
of eighteenth century short narrative, and particularly 


of the narratives of the periodical essayists. A purpose, 
moral, satirical, explanatory, argumentative, to delude, 
this is the burden of the short story which hampers the 
telling in the elegant skits of The Spectator, and the 
inelegant but intensely real stories of Defoe. 


The most interesting characteristic of the kind of short 
story popular in the period just discussed was its sub- 
serviency to morality, to philosophy, and to didacticism, 
a subserviency in which it remained until the romantic 
revival at the end of the century. One must remember, 
however, that the readers of The Spectator, of Mist's 
Journal, of the tales in the History of Apparitions, could 
and did batten upon those short novels of intrigue, bom 
in the seventeenth century of the old novella, and still 
supplying fiction which, however dilute, offered a real 
plot with no burden of criticism or morality. Mrs. 
Haywood, Mrs. Manley, Penelope Aubin — ^all were at 
work in the decade or so after the periodical essayists 
scored their first successes. If short fiction was didactic, 
long fiction was decidedly not so. 

Just how this novel of intrigue delivered over to Rich- 
ardson and Fielding a share of its tradition is out of our 
province. But it has long since been pointed out, by 
critics of the novel, that these new novelists learned to 
be interested in writing of real English life and character 
from the experiments of Defoe, Steele, and, most of all, 
Addison. Their novels were far better instruments for 
the development of plot, for the study of personality and 
character, for the portraiture of English life, than the 
short stories of the periodicals. Only Sir Roger, with 


Will Wimble and a few of Addison's other personalities, 
stands comparison with Lovelace, Parson Adams, and 
Matthew Bramble of the novel after 1740. And Sir 
Roger, the only great personality created by the essayists, 
was not only a tour de force, he was also a little out of 
the usual manner of a school of writers whose subjects, 
it will be observed, nearly always had a moral, or at 
least a corrective value, from which his character is 
almost free. Reflective, satiric, didactic narrative was 
the normal exercise of these authors. When the genera- 
tion of Smollett, Fielding, Richardson, Sterne, and Gold- 
smith found their vocation and began to write great novels 
of character, the periodical short story, losing its pre- 
eminence as a vehicle of character and realism, was readily 
given over to pure didacticism. This generalization 
seems far too mechanically perfect to be true. It is, 
however, literally correct. Through the middle of the 
century, and on to its end, almost all the short stories 
in English which are worth the reading are either ex- 
emplary tales, with both plot and character quite sub- 
ordinate, or Oriental stories, of which the majority are 
distinctly moral and reflective. 

The most characteristic, the most highly finished stories 
of this moral kind are to be found in the middle of the 
century, as at its beginning, in the works of the periodical 
essayists. But good evidence of the prevailing moral 
tone of all short narrative is to be gleaned from the 
frequent magazines which were just coming into fashion, 
periodicals whose miscellaneous character would admit 
of any and all varieties of short narrative, and whichi 
unlike the essay, were not necessarily didactic. In the 
numerous stories of The Ladies Magazine, The Weekly 


Magazine, and Literary Review j The Weekly Magazine^ 
or Edinburgh Amusement, The Monthly Miscellany, and 
all the rest of the brood, it is easy to find romantic 
leanings, or sentimental coloring, but nine out of ten 
are told with a moral purpose. For the best work, 
however, we must go direct to the essayists, many of 
whose stories the magazines reprinted. We must go 
particularly to Dr. Johnson, and to the Oriental tales 
which he, with many before and after him, endeavored 
to make a part of eighteenth century literature. 


After the series of The Tatler, The Spectator, and 
The Guardian came to an end, there was a distinct falling 
off in the quality of the periodical essay, and no paper 
again made a distinct success until The Rambler (1750) 
of Dr. Johnson, some thirty-six years later. The Rambler 
was imitative of The Spectator, but stamped as deeply 
with vigorous originality as anything that ever came from 
the Doctor's pen. It is interesting to compare the 
periodical narrative of the mid-century autocrat with that 
of the prime critics of the age of Queen Anne. 

There is fully as much narrative in The Rambler as 
in The Spectator, and more real stories. This can not 
be because Dr. Johnson wished to excel in story-telling. 
He disposes of the romance in his fourth number; "All 
the Fictions of the last Age will vanish, if you deprive 
them of a Hermit and a Wood, a Battle and a Shipwreck." 
Nor is he adroit, like Addison, in the apprehension of 
character, for while a thorough analyst of human nature, 
he lets escape almost entirely the element of personality, 
whose capture has always been the glory of English 


novelists. His Tapes and Misellas of The Rambler, 
Bonnets and Mrs. Busys of The Idler, are like lay- 
figures, anatomically true, but stripped of that which 
gives likeness to the individual. Yet nothing would be 
more erroneous than to suppose that Johnson and his 
contemporaries, professionals in the essay, were amateurs 
in the narrative. I maintain that the best of these mid- 
century stories, and they are nearly all Johnson's, although 
in a minor art, restricted, conventional, and subordinate, 
are written with a kind of skill that is not duplicated 
outside of the eighteenth century, and, in its own way, 
not often equalled even by Addison. The thesis is difficult 
to support, for who knows The Rambler nowadays well 
enough to spare quotation? But one can at least define 
the nature of the achievement. 

To begin with, the mid<entury essayists made a serious 
business of story-writing. The number of stories, their 
careful finish, the frequent criticisms of all kinds of 
story-writing prove this to have been true. I take 
it that the words of Hawkesworth, at the end of his 
fourth Adventurer, put the case as the others would 
have put it : " those short pieces which may be contained in 
such a periodical paper as the Adventurer . . . although 
formed upon a single incident, if that incident be suffi- 
ciently unconunon to gratify curiosity, and sufficiently 
interesting to engage the passions, may afford an enter- 
tainment which, if it is not lasting, is yet of the highest 
kind . • . but it should be remembered, that it is much 
more difficult and laborious, to invent a story however 
simple and however short, than to recollect topics of 
instruction, or to remark the scenes of life as they are 
shifted before us." 


To make a story accomplish what recollected terms of 
instruction often could not, was precisely the work to 
which Johnson set himself. Except in the Oriental 
apologues, of which more hereafter, his notable achieve- 
ments are all with London as he knows it. This world 
is not so vivid as in The Spectator; fops, rakes, routs, 
and coffee-house assemblies are dimmer in the narratives. 
The character sketch draws back, as the Germans put it. 
A mere opposition of characters no longer makes a paper. 
Incident is more freely used, and incidents more often 
unite in easy gradation to form a real plot. The reason 
is not obscure. A moral or satiric purpose is now com- 
pletely sovereign in the writer's mind. No side issue, 
whimsy, humor, distracts him. He is more consistent 
than Addison, who was confused with immortal long- 
ings after undidactic literature. Johnson is studying, not 
character, nor personality — ^he left these to the novelists — 
but the relations and interrelations of society, the results 
of certain courses of actions ; occasionally delusions, faults, 
and prejudices. His glance is always in this direction, 
even when his pen is skilfully outlining the plot. No 
potential novelist, like Addison, nor a mere moralist like 
Hawkesworth, he preserves, in his fiction, an absolute 
balance between truth to his world and to his moral. 
And this balance is the most perfect attainment of the 
mid-century short story. 

There is consummate skill in these plots. Indeed, they 
accomplish with such nicety their moral purpose that it is 
easy to overlook the excellent workmanship. But read 
The Lingering Expectation of an Heir {Rambler 73), 
and see how easily the plot sweeps the unfortunate youth 
through his years of time-serving, until the last of his three 


aunts IS dead and he is rich, mined in character, and " re- 
turned again to my old habit of wishing." Or the affecting 
story of MiscUa (Rambler, 1701), typical of many others 
in later and earlier peridoicals. How inevitably this tale 
moves on, with a simplification of life which differs from 
that of the modern short story because breadth and not con- 
centration of narrative is desired, yet is fully as much the 
result of skilful writing. First, the formal introduction: 
" Sir — I am one of those beings, from whom many, that 
melt at the sight of all other misery, think it meritorious 
to withhold relief." Then the brief, but powerful story, 
passing swiftly through the straitened childhood of the girl, 
her adoption by a relative, her sisters' envy, her dependence 
upon charity, then, in rapid steps, her downward path to 
ruin and the life of a prostitute. It is the plot of a novel, 
yet regulated, made brief and effective by a controlling pur- 
pose. The vice of seduction, the misery of prostitutes, is 
the double " thought " ; a power to outline the incidents 
which should seem to be real and contemporary the means ; 
a good short story " taken off ** the plot of a novel, the re- 
sult — ^and so with dozens of other narratives. 

That the process was not easy one can prove by com- 
paring the best of these Rambler or Idler sketches with 
like tales in other periodicals, the Mirror, Lounger, or 
Connoisseur, noting how readily the tale disintegrates into 
caricature or preaching, or breaks apart into episode and in- 
terpretation. Even that masterpiece of foreign satirical 
narrative, Voltaire's Candide, is not perfect in this respect ; 
for all its art the story wears thin and shows the padding 
beneath. But in Dr. Johnson's best narratives, however 
they may be deficient otherwise, the moral is no more evi- 
dent than the typical characters are true, the incident prob- 


able, and the setting convincing. Much of this success 
is due to style. Johnson does not lumber in these stories 
whatever he may do elsewhere. The richness, the vigor of 
specific words and suggestive description of the modem 
narrative, is wanting, of course. He was not seeking to 
mirror life, but the fundamentals which he thought life 
concealed. Yet the modern story-tellers, proud of their 
gradations and easy flow, should spend their nights over 
Johnson as well as Addison if they wish to equal in twelve 
octavo pages the account of say how " Masocapelus " tried 
to live down his epithet of " Tape the tailor ! " 

Of course there is a score on the other side. The de- 
lightful artificiality of these London figures, whose lives so 
conveniently illustrate the failings of the times, lull the 
critical faculties until, in admiration of their incisive por- 
traiture, you forget that this work, after all, is a minor 
art. Not life as it is, but life as it proves itself useful, 
walks these pages. The scholar of Rambler 157, who ne- 
glected politeness and so played the booby, would never 
have confessed his shame; the lottery hunter of 181 is 
evidently being milked for his horrid example; the legacy 
hunter of 197 and 198 lays bare his miserable soul without 
the gay shamelessness of the picaro to explain his confes- 
sions. No magazine would buy these sketches to-day, even 
if modernized. A taste for moralizing, a willingness to 
read fiction for something beside itself, is requisite in order 
to appreciate them, and that departed in England with 
the early nineteenth century, and in America with 
Hawthorne. Rightly, of course, for the moral story 
is bound to the age it moralizes, and must go down 
with it, while Robinson Crusoe and Tom Jones live 
forever. As a type, this short story is miserably inade- 


quate to discharge the imagination of a real story-teller 
who sees it all — the little world and the great. It is like 
a terra-cotta statuette, not marble, nor bronze, and yet, 
within its limitations, sometimes reaching to an excellence 
worthy of the highest praise. 

" Typical of the period " is so often interpreted " no 
time to speak of others " that one hesitates to apply the 
phrase to these Rambler stories, and yet it is seldom better 
justified. Johnson is the most cogent, the most forcible, 
after Addison the most fluent and elegant, of all the essay- 
ists, yet his numerous successors are on the same trail and 
proceed with a like gait. Hawkesworth of The Ad- 
venturer (1752 — ) is heavier, more allegorical, far less 
expert in narrative. The World (1753 — ), which sup- 
posedly differed from all its predecessors by a certain levity 
of tone and a preference for irony, depended, for most of 
its narrative, upon Moore, a gentleman who seemed to 
think that a literal relation of some contemporary incident 
would serve his purpose. His story of Mr. and Mrs. 
Wilson (3 and 4) will show by contrast how much art 
enters into the better examples of this periodical narrative. 
The Connoisseur ( 1754 — ), of young Colman and Thorn- 
ton, has some wonderful material for college stories, but is 
strictly in the prevailing mode. Dr. Johnson's Idler 
(1758 — ) we need not dwell upon, since Drugget, Betty 
Broom, Marvel, are but instances of those shrewd delinea- 
tions of types which are the better satire because personality 
is not too evident. In the last examples of the periodical- 
essay group, the Scottish Mirror (1779—) and Lounger 
(1785 — ), and The Observer (1785 — ) of Richard Cum- 
berland, the sentimental story begins to appear inversely 


by way of a satirical account of sentimental people, and di- 
rectly in tales of a sentimental tinge. But we must leave 
the periodicals and turn back to find the only writer of 
periodical narrative who rivalled Johnson in his sense for 
the exact proportions of plot, character, and reflection ne- 
cessary for the perfect result. Before The Vicar of JVake- 
field, before his comedies, Goldsmith wrote, for The Public 
Ledger, in 1760- 1 761, The Citizen of the World, con- 
sisting of letters to and from a Chinese visitor to London, 
a device which permitted all the practice of the periodical 
essayists with an added novelty. The cool and graceful 
style of these admirable letters falls into narrative with 
less frequency than is common to Johnson or Addison, but 
the stories they include are of every variety within the 
periodical kind. By far the best are little sketches of 
London life in the true essayist's manner; for instance, 
Beau Tibbs, his two shirts, the ortolans that proved ox 
cheek, and his friend the Dutchess of Piccadilly ; or the 
tale of the man with a wooden leg in Letter cxix. How- 
ever, Goldsmith, like Addison, is clearly in his best vein 
when personality is his goal. He is too good an artist to 
be a thoroughgoing writer of the moral short story. For 
the periodical variety, in perfect limitation, we must still 
fall back upon Dr. Johnson. 

The Oriental story crops out so abundantly through all 
the eighteenth century that it has been difficult to reserve 
explicit discussion until the middle period, when its popu- 
larity was greatest. Every one knows The Arabian 
Nights, and through them is familiar with the com- 
plexion of the other Oriental collections which enjoyed 
this popularity, for the Mogul, Persian, Chinese stories 


'diStT from our standard collection only in a greater or 
less degree of sentiment, adventure, or moralistic char- 
acter. That a coldly critical, intensely prosaic century 
should receive such stories warmly is surprising only if 
we believe that romance was dead, not merely kept under, 
in the eighteenth century heart. And since ever3rthing 
Eastern was welcomed, the astonishing impulse towards 
a new romance which these brilliant tales of splendor, 
magic, and adventure gave to English fiction is easy to 
understand. Yet this result is mainly to be worked out 
in the study of the novel. The short story kept its own 
way, and made a very different use of the endowment 
from the East. 

The original Oriental stories, whether more or less 
accurately translated, are of enormous importance in our 
literary history, and of fascinating interest. Galland's 
first version of The Arabian Nights was Englished, 
according to the term catalogues, in 1708, and read to 
pieces perhaps, for no copies of this edition seem to exist. 
There followed numerous other editions ; also translations 
of the Turkish, Persian, Chinese, and Mogul tales in 
order, and numberless combinations. In addition, there 
were hundreds of imitators of the new story-kind, from 
Addison in The Spectator to Maria Edgeworth still 
at it in the beginning of the new century. Even an 
enumeration of the chief examples of this material, with 
the sL'ghtest approach to critical distinction, would take 
too much space. Fortunately, the information for the 
special student has been recently made accessible by a 
compendious monograph. The Oriental Tale in England 
in the Eighteenth Century, by Martha Pike Conant, 
a book which should lead to further research. The 


imitations, with which alone we have to do, seldom reached 
a birth into good literature. 

The Arabian Nights, and, indeed, all of these Oriental 
narratives, have two distinct varieties of stories. Both 
can assume the panoply of Oriental gorgeousness, and 
both dabble with the forces of the other world. But 
one is clearly moralistic and reflective, the other purely 
adventurous and romantic. In between are the mass of 
tales that can be read either way. Probably, the stories 
which, without obvious morals, are based upon the failings 
of human nature, are in the majority; certainly they 
seem to be in The Arabian Nights. And these represent, 
in a measure not easily determinable, the heritage of 
that mother of reflective stories, the literature of ancient 
India. In The Jataka the same mixture of reflective and 
adventurous stories is to be found, though with a far 
greater proportion of the former, and some of the very 
tales of the Arabs find their earliest parallels in this Indian 

It is a hypothesis propounded by Leslie Stephen in his 
"Cosmopolitan Literature" {Studies of a Biographer), 
that one race absorbs from the literature of another the 
element which suits its own genius. The writers of 
the periodical short narratives of the eighteenth century, 
it is easy to see, would find, in the didactic or potentially 
didactic apologues and novellas of the Eastern collections, 
plots and subjects which admirably fulfilled their pur- 
poses. In fact, if we confine ourselves to the periodicals, 
this hypothesis is perfectly illustrated. Nearly all of 
the numerous Eastern tales scattered through the volumes 
of the essayists, from the beginning almost to the end 
of the century, are distinctly moral, philosophic, or satirical 


in purpose. The color of Eastern diction, the romance 
of Eastern adventure, pomp, and gorgeousness are not 
lacking, but the stories reveal their end — to criticise, to 
be satirical, or to teach. Furthermore, if the tale is 
an adaptation, this purpose will usually prove to have 
been sharpened and intensified to fit the taste and needs 
of the adapter. Addison's The Vision of Mirza {Spec- 
tator 159) is the best of all these borrowings from the 
East for the use of the essayist, but it is not the most 
typical. More representative examples are the same 
author's Alnaschar (Spectator 535), Johnson's Alma- 
moulin (Rambler i2o), and Hawkesworth's The Ring 
of Amurath {Adventurer 20, 21, 22). 

The Vision of Mirza has fewer sensational details than 
those earlier stories of the terrible bridge of Al Sirat 
which came into English in The Dialogues of Pope 
Gregory and the medieval Purgatory of St. Patrick. 
It is a sonorous narrative of a dream, with a philosophic 
calm distilling from the style, as much as from the 
grandeur of " the great tide of eternity " flowing beneath 
the broken bridge of a hundred arches. The author 
has used the Oriental strangeness to make his story more 
real. For the rest, he owes nothing to the Orient except 
the conception of the great bridge. According to our 
notions of narrative, the Vision is not a story; it is 
allegory put into the usual harness of the eighteenth 
century short story. The aim is philosophical, and the 
allegory is more successful than any mere story could 
have been. 

The other narratives are poorer literature, but better 
illustrations of the kind of short stories usually made of 
the Eastern importation. Alnaschar is a take-over of 


the famous tale of the basket of glasses which the unhappy 
dreamer shivered to pieces when, in imagination, he spurned 
the vizier's daughter. It is pendant to an essay on hope, 
and meritorious only for its application, its style, and 
the worth of the original. Yet, much less valuable than 
Addison's studies of English life, it is superior to the 
stories in The Guardian 167, and Spectator 584 and 585, 
where he tried to invent an Eastern plot. 

Though so thorough a student of the Oriental tale 
as Miss Conant dismisses Dr. Johnson's contribution with 
some scorn, his efforts seem to be more worthy of praise 
than Addison's, The Vision of Mirza excepted. Johnson's 
ponderous style is a proper instrument for the solemn 
apologues w^hich he labors into Eastern form. It has 
that Biblical elevation which the subject requires. It 
fits his purpose, which was not romance except as a 
garnish, not extravagance unless for atmosphere, but 
morality brought home in a new and impressive fashion. 
Those who care for the dignified periods of Rasselas will 
find in Almamoulin the son of Nouradin a representative 
specimen of the best of the Oriental short stories in 
periodical literature, and they will enjoy it. The tale 
is full of the splendor of the East : " She received him 
sitting on a throne, attired in the robe of royalty, and 
shining with the jewels of Golconda; command sparkled 
in her eyes, and dignity towered on her forehead." It 
is sonorous with the supposed diction of the Orient: 
"The streets were crouded with his carriages; the sea 
was covered with his ships; the streams of Oxus were 
wearied with conveyance, and every breeze of the sky 
wafted wealth to Nouradin." The plot itself is engaging, 
and the moral does not need the concluding words of 


the philosopher to make itself the real climax of the 

Of the many successors to this practice — ^and the moral 
Eastern tales in English are legion — Hawkesworth is 
the most worth reading. A little heavy, prevailingly 
moral, his stories, of which The Ring of Amurath, per- 
haps, is best, are in one sense exactly typical of the many 
unmentioned specimens to be found among the more 
excellent of these short-story writers. They are better 
than bad; not quite elevated to good; and more useful 
in a bibliography than in a criticism of the period. 

The flood of Eastern fiction which poured from the 
presses throughout the century, on the whole seems to 
have had very little influence upon the contemporary 
short story. When The Arabian Nights brought the 
first important influx into English, the apologue, for 
that is the technical term we might apply to most of 
the periodical narrative, was already forming itself under 
the influence of a strong Zeitgeist. Although Galland*s 
version of the Arabian book was published in England 
in 1708, the year before The Tatler began, its stories 
could have supplied only material for the essayists, in 
no sense have given them a model for their tales of 
English life. Again, the influence upon ordinary narra- 
tive style is almost negligible, at least until the romantic 
revolution at the end of the century. The good writers 
kept on tap a special style, florid, often extravagant, quite 
unclassical, for their Oriental fiction. Walpole's bur- 
lesque in his Hieroglyphic Tales deals with this custom; 
Goldsmith's Letter xxxin of The Citizen of the World 
includes, " Eastern tales should always be sonorous, lofty, 
musical, and unmeaning." 


Yet Oriental narrative in English was not without a 
great literary success. Although the original Eastern 
stories were a vast addition to our literature, they are 
not to be credited to English genius. The semi-adapta- 
tions and frank imitations, however, while often valueless, 
twice reached high excellence. Once was in the didactic 
short stories just under discussion; once was beyond the 
strict bounds of the short story, in that indeterminate 
region between the novel and the short narrative. In 
this latter field, Rasselas, a Rambler paper escaped from 
bounds and rising toward the philosophical romance, is 
a notable monument, while Beckford's Vathek bums with 
the imagination the periodical writers would never set 
free. And yet, the philosophy, which is the major motive 
of Rasselas, and the satire, clearly the minor of Vathek, 
both reveal the Zeitgeist which controlled so completely 
the narratives of the periodicals. Though not short 
stories, these two famous tales are true products of the 
union between the short story of the East, and the didactic 
short narrative of the English eighteenth century. 


Few periods swing more abruptly into new thoughts, 
emotions, and literature than does the eighteenth century. 
Yet Professor Beers's studies in romanticism, for ex- 
ample, or the histories of the English novel by Professors 
Raleigh and Cross, reveal the forerunners of this change, 
in many kinds of literature. The short story, however, 
cannot be said to do more than indicate the approach 
of romanticism. An occasional adventurous tale, weakly 
copying in petto the Gothic novel, finds its way into 


the magazines. And, as has already been noted, some 
of the periodical stories, in the later essayists, show 
traces of that " sensibility " which helped to make the 
market for romance. Nevertheless, the surprising fact for 
one who troubles to wade through the quantities of 
inefiFectual short narrative of the last quarter of the 
century, is its uniformity of tone. New developments 
in fiction, which had nearly always begun in the short 
story, at this time were not lacking, but it is the novel 
which exhibits them, while the short story is as tightly 
boimd as ever to the service of a didactic criticism of 

The climax in excellence for this highly moral story 
was to be found in the apologues of Dr. Johnson. But 
the end of the century does not run to anti<limax. 
Though one meets with no literary masterpieces, the 
general tendency does not fail to reach one grand con- 
summation, and a possible limit. In our great grand- 
fathers' times every one but the worldly read Mrs. Hannah 
More. The Cheap Repository Tracts ( 1795-8) , of which 
she was chief author, sold over two millions of copies 
in the first year of publication, and were written, as 
one may judge from the careful recommendations in the 
respective prefaces, for all the castes of the English social 
S3rstem. Their success was due in part, of course, to 
the waves of religious and ethical revival sweeping across 
England. But not entirely. When the eternal preach- 
ments which make up so much of the dialogue are skipped, 
or digested, even the modem reader can see that these 
excessively moral stories circulated to some degree upon 
their literary merits. Hannah More was as clever as 
y.M.CA. leaders to-day, who enlist all the natural and 


thoroughly pagan activities of youth in the service of 
religion. She divined the interest of the newly educated 
populace in themselves, and so wrote about them; she 
benefited by the predilection of the age for the story 
which reflected upon conduct, a predilection now become 
general and beginning to fail in higher quarters; for all 
her intolerable sermonizing she knew how to grasp the 
essentials of good narrative. One imagines that, seeing 
the moral tale of the periodical essayists running to 
waste, she had endeavored to redeem it for the service 
of spiritual religion. The result was no artistic triumph, 
yet two millions of people seem to have welcomed her 

The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain, best known of her 
stories, is only too typical. It begins with a rural scene 
on the Wiltshire downs, accompanied by some remarks 
on traveling as an opportunity for pious thoughts. Then 
comes the meeting with the shepherd; a dialogue of 
some twenty-six pages, in which one discovers that almost 
all privations and ills have fallen to the latter's lot; 
and, finally, the point of the story: " ' I fear. Shepherd,' 
said Mr. Johnson, 'you have found this to be but a 
bad world.' ' Yes, sir,' replied the Shepherd, * but it is 
governed by a good God ! ' " The success of such a story 
shows the power of a convincing accoimt of the events 
of a simple life, but it is a better illustration of a bias 
towards moral narrative, so strong that sixty-five pages 
of it, with only a scaffolding of real events and character, 
could meet with signal appreciation. 

This is only one example, for Hannah More was in- 
defatigable in the attempt to stamp home her lesson 
by any means whatsoever. She has allegories, such as 


Parley the Porter, stories of the old London-history 
kind, as The Two Shoemakers, picaresque narratives, 
and good ones, of which Betty Brown, the St, Gileses 
Orange Girl harks back to Defoe, and forward to 
Dickens; again, simple narratives, where a controlling 
purpose and unified incident gives much of the effect of 
a modern short story. '"T« all for the Best** is the 
most interesting of this latter variety, and the finest 
example of her really unusual powers of narrative^ 
Evidently, it is an answer to the Candide of Voltaire, 
" a profligate wit of a neighboring country," who had 
used the same title for purposes of ridicule. " ' It is all 
for the best,' said Mrs. Simpson, whenever any mis- 
fortune befel her," so the story begins in modem style, 
and continues with the tragic narrative of the seeming 
misfortimes which brought this clergyman's daughter to 
the poorhouse, and crushed her husband. For almost the 
first time in English, it is the structure, rather than the 
substance, of the story which is most noteworthy. In a 
series of '' miseries," each concluding with a fillip, the 
narrative runs through a dialogue with ex-maid Betty. 
At the death of the father, " * How very unlucky! ' in- 
terrupted Betty. * No, Betty,* replied Mrs. Simpson, ' it 
was very providential.' " The husband breaks his leg: 
"'What a dreadful misfortune!' said Mrs. Betty. 
' What a signal blessing! ' said Mrs. Simpson." He 
becomes bankrupt : " * What an evil ! ' exclaimed Mrs. 
Betty. 'Yet it led in the end to much good,' resumed 
Mrs. Simpson." And thus the narrative is bound to- 
gether into a single illustration of its text, gaining, not 
losing, by the service, and culminating with the due 
climax of Mrs. Simpson's dying words — " all is for the 



best." Never was short narrative so completely the slave 
of the sermon as in these tracts, and never, as in this 
century thus closing, have all its virtues been so skilfully 
employed to lure the fancy to the net of the moralist. 








ACCORDING to the Scotch story, the best sermon 
is not more than twenty minutes long. When 
Mrs. Hannah More expanded the moral narrative to 
many pages, she broke the rule, and was supported by 
the flare-up of English virtue against the atheism and 
profligacy of the conquering French. But in the maga- 
zines, miscellanies, and collections of the English genera- 
tion contemporary with the Napoleonic period, morality 
is no longer so completely fashionable. Current short 
stories usually leave out the sermon altogether, and the 
frequent advertisements of " moral tales for children *' 
indicate that Johnsonian narrative had been handed down 
to girls and boys. 

This is not surprising, for, in the last decades of the 
eighteenth century, England had been purged, mentally 
and socially, by strong draughts of French ideas, and ' 
literature was turbulent with romanticism. Thus, at 
the beginning of the new era, there was more to think 
of than manners and morals. Novel writers were ex- 
perimenting in every direction. There was the political, 
social, or educational novel of Godwin and his group, 
the Gothic romance, the historical novel, the novel of 



sensibility. And, although, down to a little after 1800, 
magazines and all recueils and depositing-places of the 
short narrative seem to be content with the old apologue, 
these also began to yield to the change of taste, and present 
a new, and usually a very bad, short story. Bad, because 
after the decline of the moral apologue of the eighteenth 
century, in which short-story writers were free of com- 
petition from the novel, came, for a while, only con- 
temptible, vest-pocket versions of Gothic, or historical, 
or philosophical novels, and then a flood of feeble ex- 
periments in pathos and terror, until Poe gave the new 
material form. Says the editor of The Lady^s Monthly 
Museum, under his acknowledgments for July, 1798: 
" We presume not to dictate to our friends, but Novels, 
Tales, or Romances, so calculated as not to engage 
more than three or four pages, will be most acceptable." 
" Our friends," responding with narratives atrociously 
compressed into the required pages, gave examples of a 
new romantic short story minus the structure which alone 
could make it successful. 

Naturally, the moral story of the previous age did 
not expire with the year 1800. The aforesaid Lady's 
Monthly Museum, from its long life and expensive 
colored fashion-plates evidently popular and t3rpical, 
presents its readers with instances well on into the century. 
As late as 18 12, one reads On the Divine Wisdom. A 
Tale, which, except for some unnecessary horror, and a 
lack of art, might have come from a deist of the mid- 
eighteenth century. The works of Maria Edgcworth 
supply nobler examples of this enduring tendency. One 
thinks of their author, and rightly, as a novelist. Unlike 
the puny fry of the magazines, she is in close touch with 


the thought of the day. Her stories of Irish landholders, 
of young lady sentimentalists, of every variety of human 
experience which could illustrate the value of a right 
education, move with a sweep, a humor, a naturalness, 
ab'en to the restricted art of the essayists. Her Popular 
Tales (1804), Tales of Fashionable Life (1809-18 12), 
even the early Moral Tales (1801), are usually short 
novels, or novelettes — nouveletes, a contemporary writer 
called such efforts. Yet, as one reads The Prussian 
Vase, told to illustrate the dangers of autocracy, or 
To'Morrow, where the fault of putting-off ruins the 
hero (even his story was to have been finished to- 
morrow!), it is evident that here is the moral apologue 
still persisting, though stretched to meet new conditions 
and a more thoroughgoing portrayal of life. The re- 
semblance to the eighteenth century apologue goes no 
further, however, than a general unifying of a com- 
paratively short narrative for the sake of a moral. Tone, 
thought, style are all different. Miss Edgeworth has 
learned of the novelists, and does not think twice of a 
hypothetical essay on les mceurs for once of the story. 
She takes space to realize her characters; the plots reach 
a climax, and the subjects are enormously various. With 
her, moral narrative has enfranchised itself, expanded into 
the novel, or half-way there; lost its form and structure, 
while retaining its moral obsession. Her tales may be 
regarded as the dissolution of the moral apologue due to 
a too great admixture of life and personality in the 
beaker. The elements have recompounded into some- 
thing very excellent indeed — ^but we must look into far 
weaker, and far more incoherent narrative for the be- 
ginning of the next type of English short story. 


This beginning, in English, was ahnost inconsiderable. 
It is to be found in little magazine tales which are very 
horrible, very sentimental, very pathetic — ^anything so that 
the favorite adverb of the romantic movement, very, may 
be joined to an adjective which would appeal to a person 
of sensibility. They reflect the state of mind which the 
Gothic romancers, and Coleridge, Scott, Byron, Keats, 
had helped to make for England. Signs, not of its 
strength, but of its weakness, they are only casual ex- 
periment in the short tale by those who usually dealt in 
the long. Fathers die upon the graves of ruined daugh- 
ters, brother kilb brother, sons are drowned in the ann^ 
of their forbidden sweethearts. It was at such romantic 
nonsense that Peacock laughed in Nightmare Abbey 
(1818), with its ridiculous Coleridge and absurd Shelley. 
And before 1818 this emotional tale had grown flagrant 
enough to be parodied in the very magazines which gave 
it place. But bad as these stories were, they bore the 
earmarks of the time, and out of them, and not from 
the outgrown didactic story, the new development was 
to come. 


TO ABOUT 1833) 

The mawkishly romantic story of the first decades 
of the century was the prelude to a performance very 
extensive and very melancholy for the lover of good 
short stories. One's state of mind, after reading widely 
in the magazines and '' the accursed annual " of the 
years that followed, is like that gloom of the spirit which 
accompanies a particularly bad comic opera. If ever 


flower bloomed from the dung-heap, it was the exquisite 
tale of Irving which we have shortly to consider. The 
writers of short narratives in this age had, usually, but 
one of three ends in view. Pathos is the deity of " the 
average contributor," and the stories in this mood are 
nearly all mawkish. Horror was increasingly prized, yet 
seldom wrought successfully into a short story until Poe, 
in the next period, achieved the art which it required. 
Mystery accompanies most of the tales, but was efiEective 
only when Irving blended with it a little of the humor 
which was so strangely lacking in other contemporaries 
of the prime humorists. Lamb, Hook, and Hood. 

The '' average contributor," of course, is the one who 
best represents the onward flow of the narrative fashion 
of the times, but he printed stories so numerous, and, by 
modem standards, so abominably written, that a thorough 
discussion would be mere tediousness. In the magazines^ 
there was Leigh Hunt, who is mentioned in histories of 
fiction because J Tale for a Chimney Corner, in his 
Indicator of December 15, 18 19, begins with an explana- 
tion of how to write one of the popular '' grim stories." 
The tale that follows is a poor ghost story, and he does 
better in the other popular vein, the pathetic Black- 
wooits became famous in the third and fourth decades 
of the century for its ** tales of effect," as Poe called 
them, although longer narratives seem to have been 
preferred. One finds some stories of De Quincey's, such 
as The Avenger (1838), where, to the popular note of 
horror, the charm of a beautiful style is added, and only 
the force which comes with intensity and constructive 
power is wanting. The old London Magazine, too, will 
yield typical examples of the story of the period, in 


addition to Lamb's half-narrative essays of Elia which 
belong to a difiEerent genre. 

But it is the gift-books, or annuals, that present most 
plentifully, and most typically, the short narrative of 
this period. The English annual was a combination of 
the idea of the English special edition in leather for 
the holiday trade, and the German annual, which latter 
seems to have had original contributions and blank sheets 
for memorandums. It began in England about 1823 
and reached the height of its popularity in the thirties, 
when, at the proper season, every lady's table contained 
some highly-colored Amaranth or Forget-me-not in 
stamped leather, full of embellishments and contributions 
in prose and verse by people well known either as littera- 
teurs or as persons of quality. Since the prose was nearly 
all narrative, and, necessarily, short narrative, the oppor- 
tunity thus offered to the writers of short stories was only 
equalled by the development of our more modem fiction- 
magazines. Mrs. Shelley, Miss Landon (L. £. L.), 
Emma Roberts, the Banim brothers, were representative 
contributors to the story list of the annuals. A few 
words about their stories will serve for all except those of 
the greater names which we shall reserve for last. 

Mrs. Shelley, in spit^ of the reputation for horror 
which Frankenstein had left her, deals mainly in pathos. 
Pitiable Italian girls lose their bandit lovers, unfortimate 
' females, sentimentally guilty of parricide, mourn them- 
selves into a decline, and plunge their lovers and friends 
into agonized melancholy. Emma Roberts is the paragon 
of all the defects of the school. Read The Dream in 
Friendship's Offering of 1826, which ends, " He turned 
a hurried glance to the greensward — the grave was full'* 



Miss Landon, whom Lamb would have locked in her 
room and prevented from writing poetry, mingles the 
mysterious in her cup of pathos, and sails away on wings 
of rhetoric which recall the flights of Poe. The mys- 
terious immortal of The Enchantress, in Heath's Book 
of Beauty, 1833, who inhabits, for a time, the body of 
the Sicilian's bride, almost thrills you — a rare achieve- 
ment; but no matter where this literary lady soars, the 
gulfs of sentimentality are always just beneath. The 
Banims, who had done such good work in their novelettes 
of Ireland, The O'Hara Tales, fall into bathos too. One 
particularly sentimental story. The Half -Brothers, a 
lachrymose tale of a deserted mother in The Keepsake 
for 1829, illustrates, in an exaggerated fashion, the con- 
structive weakness of these dabblers in pathos. After 
three pages of narrative, '' The scene must now be very 
abruptly changed to the reader, with a breach of the three 
unities — ^Twelve years after" — and the story proceeds! 
One finds little better, and a little worse, in America. 
N. P. Willis mingles a saving sprightliness in his senti- 
mental stories. Occasionally there is a tale of emigration, 
of Indian warfare, of the social conditions of the new 
world, which is refreshingly real, and refreshingly new 
in setting; but the English trinity, pathos, horror, mystery, 
were equally supreme on this side of the water. Not 
even Hawthorne's early stories lift the representative 
American annual. The Token, above the level of its 
English originals. 

It is unnecessary to dilate further upon the nature of 
the average story of this period. The preceding para- 
graph, hurried summary that it is, will not be wasted 
if it indicates the quantity and quality of the tales of 


the annuals and magazines which Poe and Hawthorne 
were reading when their career began. But we are not 
yet through with the twenties and early thirties. So 
far we have discussed only the average contributor. A 
few exceptional writers mastered their materials and one 
made classic short stories from the fabric woven by 
Mrs. Shelley and Emma Roberts with such futility. 

Sir Walter Scott's big gun boomed only three times 
for the short story, but we must bring him into the dis- 
cussion, if only because his poems and novels were the 
inspiration of so much romantic short narrative. Two 
of his three worthy short stories are to be found in 
The Keepsake for 1829. Another is inserted in his novel, 
Red Gauntlet, published in 1824. This last, Wandering 
Willie*5 Tale, is easily the best story outside of Irving 
to be found in its decade. It is a grim tale, but not 
a mawkish one, and, save for a considerable delay at 
the beginning, has little that is not excellent about it. 
" Forth, pilgrim, forth," you say to the lovable Steenic 
who is to play the bagpipes in hell, '' be started, man, 
on thy adventure if thou are to take thy reader with 
thee ! " If, in this good story, there is an error in pro- 
portions, it is no wonder that, in the contemporary tales 
of the annuals, one skips ruthlessly to the third page in 
hopes to find the beginning of the plot! My Aunt 
Margaret's Mirror, the first of The Keepsake stories and 
a moderately good tale of mystery, begins to move with 
the twelfth page only! The Tapestried Chamber, z far 
better one, in which the novelist's great power finds what 
vent it can in a few pages, rambles sadly at the beginning. 
The master hand must show its cunning, but Scott's 


careless methods are deplorably visible in the short story. 
Yet one must not make the criticism personal. Sir 
Walter, even in such narrow quarters, spins a good grim 
tale, and escapes all mawkishness. What he does not 
escape is the other fault common to writers for the 
annuals — a blindness to proportion, emphasis, what we 
call form in the short story. His few short tales are 
an interesting episode, but of no historical importance. 

Our Village, by Miss Mitford, was another interesting 
episode. It is a series of sketches which, appearing in 
many magazines and annuals, were published afterwards 
(1824- 1 832) in collected form, and took a permanent 
place in our libraries. Her little articles are sometimes 
descriptions, sometimes mere narratives, occasionally char- 
acter studies, and less often stories. They were all in- 
spired by a lovable village in southern England, and told 
in a sympathetic style, which is sometimes stilted, but 
more often responds to the pleasant, slightly humorous 
tastes and affections of the writer. These studies are 
rich in characters, like the village beau, Joel Brent, or 
the two old-fashioned ladies who had known Richardson ; 
they are rich in local circumstance, and in faithful por- 
traiture. " Mr. Geoffrey Crayon," says Miss Mitford 
in Bromley Maying, " has, in his delightful but somewhat 
fanciful writingSi brought into general view many old 
sports and customs." It is of the Irving of The Sketch 
Book and Bracebridge Hall that these sketches, with 
their pleasant antiquarianism, their quaintly humorous 
descriptions, and gentle pathos, are reminiscent. One 
notes that Geoffrey Crayon was too fanciful! Miss 
Mitford, in truth, is a realist, though no stem one. 
She was in sympathy, as she says, with Jane Austen; 


out of sympathy, as one sees, with the brood of romantic 
story-tellers into whose hands the short story had fallen. 
As one looks over the annuals, her cool, quiet sentences, 
her life-like pictures, with only the romance of an already 
passing life to warm them, are refreshing after the livid 
intensities of other contributors. But it required more 
technique than Miss Mitford, or any contemporary, was 
master of, to make good short stories, valuable for their 
narrative mainly, from realistic studies of dove-colored 
life. So far as Miss Mitford was a story-teller at all, 
she stood aside from the romantic development which 
was leading towards the achievement of technique. 

In this romantic development, Washington Irving is 
the chief master of all this group of short-story writers. 
There is no prose short story in this period which does 
not reveal inferiority, and often an abysmal inferiority, 
when tried by the touchstone of Rip Van Winkle, or 
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Miss Mitford was never 
a bom narrator, Scott, the well-head of English romantic 
fiction, could do " the great bow-wow," but not, in such 
perfection, these shorter sketches. As for the tribe of 
the annuals, in substance only do they reveal themselves 
of the same age; in manner they are candlle to an 
aristocrat of letters. Amidst all the welter of pathetico- 
mystico slush which filled the periodicals of these years, 
an obscure American suddenly elevates the popular kind 
of short story into masterpieces which belong to our 
permanent literature. * 

The critical problem is a nice one. First, just what 
did Irving accomplish when he wrote the best of his 
stories; next, how did he accomplish it; and, finally, what 
is the place of his achievement in the evolution we are 


tradng? The materials arc in The Sketch Book (1819- 
20), The Tales of a Traveller ( 1824), and The Alhambra 
(1832), in which three works his most noteworthy con- 
tributions to the short story were contained. The dates, 
as well as the contents, show how closely his chief work 
fits into this period. 

To begin with, just what was it that Irving did 
accomplish? There is a disposition, in contemporary 
criticism, to disparage the first American writer who 
became " classic." The tendency shows itself by implica- 
tion, rather than in the open, and seems to result from 
the sudden rush to appreciate the modern short story. 
Irving certainly did not achieve the "short story," or 
short-story, or Short Story, as the modem product has 
been variously written down. Professsor Baldwin has 
aptly suggested in this connection, that if Rip Van Winkle 
should be retold to-day it would be a very difiEerent narra- 
tive. The return of .old Rip to his village would be 
the situation chosen for emphasis by the narrator; the 
Catskill episodes would sink to mere foothilk of ante- 
cedent action ; the confusion of the returned hunter would 
rise to the heights of climax. Indeed, it is true that the 
technique which has put so many hitherto unconsidered 
situations into literature, and the short-story form, was 
not in Irving's grasp, or, better, was unknown to him. 
Yet, since nothing could be more different in artistic 
purpose than these idyllic tales of the Hudson River 
Dutch and the stories of Poe, Harte, or Kipling, nothing 
is more useless than to compare their tedmique to the 
detriment of either. Intensity, emphasis, excerption of 
a single situation is the aim of the more modem story- 
tellers; breadth within limits, balance of parts, an easy 


telling of several related incidents, the accomplishment 
of the first American raast^^ of the tale. When success- 
fuly the simple, uneipph^c, but well-balanced tale is no 
whit inferior 4e-flie highly artificial mechanism of The 
Cask of Amontillado or They — ^it is merely different, 
The simpler structure was less sure of success in a few 
pages; witness the many good plots spoiled in these early 
decades. But Irving mastered this simplidty and made 
it successful; restrained pathos, mystery, and sentiment 
with humor; balanced the fashionable introduction with 
the requisite weight of story; carried fluency and restraint 
to the end. He may be said to have dischargied hi^ 
debt to the rhetorician; and, though he did not achieve 
the modem short story, it is not impossible that his 
particular success, the proportioning of the simple tale, 
may belong to a more durable variety of art 

The second question. What made him so successful 
with the simple tale while his contemporaries were crowd- 
ing the periodicals with failures? is not so easily answered. 
Perhaps humor was the talisman which saved Irving 
from contagion; that gentle, urbane humor which smiles 
from behind Ichabod Crane and Rip. It must have been 
a sense of humor that restrained him from the excesses 
of the average contributor. Supply a theme which, lend- 
ing itself to sentiment, forbade the humorous, and he 
stopped just short of the common complaint of the 
annuals. The Pride of the Village in The Sketch Book, 
The Young Italian of The Tales of a Traveller, arc 
unhumorous — and on the brink. 

Perhaps we know his better stories too well, and the 
current narrative of the period too little, for a full 
appreciation of the value, in such a time, and amidst such 


work, of living's quality of humor. If so, an indirect 
illustration will bring the moral home. In Friendship's 
Offering for 1826, there are two anonymous tales, The 
Laughing Horseman, and Reichter and his Staghounds; 
hearty tales, with a jolly mystery, a setting that makes 
you visualize it, and a style full of vigor and beauty. 
Irving's, you guess instantly, for you think you feel his 
characteristic touch, and are impressed by the infinite 
superiority to everything else in the collection. But the 
next number (1827) tells the secret. Here is a better 
story still, Der Kugelspieler, in the same spirit, style, 
and vein, and by the author of The Chronicles of London 
Bridge. This was Richard Thomson, the librarian and 
antiquary, who pretty certainly wrote the first two stories, 
since the editor of the 1826 annual had promised that 
certain anonymities should be revealed in the next issue. 
Now this forgotten author has written the very best 
stories in the English annuab, let Scott's (barring Wan- 
dering Willie's Tale) or any be compared with them. 
Der Kugelspieler will serve for an example. It deals 
with the sardonic goblin, Forster der Wilder, and how 
upon the ghastly kugelplatz of ancient Barbarossa he 
outbowled the student of Prague. There is no lack of 
mysteTy, no lack of the marvelous when, for an instant, 
the court of the great red-beard look down from their 
misty, ruined towers upon the match. And yet a humor- 
ous point of view acts, in this narrative, as an antiseptic 
against the absurd, and a preservative of verisimilitude 
in the story. Rip Van Winkle, the tale which it most 
resembles in English, is a classic; Der Kugelspieler is 
buried with its unworthy companions in a forgotten 
annual. Thus we may see with unbiassed eye what a 


mighty difiEerence came about when one of these romanti- 
cists of the second generation compounded his pathos, his 
horror, or his mystery, with the aid of a sense of humor. 
Humor saved Richard Thomson, at least from artistic 
nullity; and humor saved Irving from the quagmire in 
which his contemporaries floundered, as Kipling hopes 
it will save all of us Americans in the end. 

But there is another reason for the success of the 
American writer in the exquisitely simple, perfectly bal- 
anced tale, a reason which regards the structure as much 
as the contents of the story. It must be set forth in 
order to relate his work to the development of the short 
story, as well as to complete the explanation of his 
triumph. This reason is to be found in the nature of 
the models upon which he formed his style. 

The question, Where did Irving learn his art? may 
be answered, to the degree in which answer is possible, 
with ease and rapidity. The bent of his genius is in 
exact conformity with his age. He is a late romantic, 
he belongs to the generation after the Gothic romance, 
the generation of the historical romance, and the pathetic, 
ghastly, mysterious tale. His subjects are those of his 
times. But his method, his style, his view-point difiEer, 
as has been somewhat extensively indicated, from those 
of his contemporaries. This difference must certainly 
be ascribed in part to his well-known fondness for the 
literature of the early eighteenth century. No argument 
is needed to prove a general influence. The form of 
The Sketch Book is reminiscent of The Spectator, and 
Bracebridge Hall was evidently inspired by Sir Roger 
de Coverley; Irving's style is Addisonian; his humor has 
an Augustan urbanity; he is inclined to study manners in 


a very eighteenth century fashion. If his interests stamp 
hini romanticist, his manner as certainly marks him a stu- 
dent and often an imitator of the age of Pope, Steele, and 
Addison. But, to these obvious debts, I would add one 
more. The resemblance between the periodical narrative 
of the eighteenth century and these perfectly balanced tales 
of Irving has been noticed only as far as their characters. 
Will Wimble and Rip, the squire of Bracebridge Hall and 
Sir Roger, betray evidences of kinship. It goes much 
deeper. We will not presume to say that Irving learned 
his proportioning sense of humor from The Spectator or 
The Tatler, although doubtless he was not uninfluenced by 
the Queen Anne temperament. But it is notable and sig- 
nificant that one finds the balance, the restraint, the exact 
adaptation of means to end, precisely what the short stories 
of the romanticists lacked, precisely what Irving attained, 
in the periodical narratives of the early eighteenth century 
which were his early and revered reading. Put the ques- 
tion this way. How would a close student and admirer 
of the narratives of The Spectator, or The Rambler, treat 
a romantic story of pathetic love, a mysterious legend, or 
any example of the narratives most cherished in Irving's 
day? Would he be mawkish in the telling, extravagant, 
grossly improbable? Could he be, with such models! A 
theoretical application of an eighteenth century manner 
to the romantic tale of Miss Roberts in the annual before 
me, gives, to the assertion that he could not, a pragmatic 
value. Most certainly Irving was a romanticist, but, quite 
as certainly, he learned order, restraint, and symmetry 
from the masters ol the short story in the eighteenth cen- 
This criticism, so far, may seem to be a narrow one. 


It has been based upon only two stories, the Dutch tales of 
The Sketch Book. But these are the best as well as the 
earliest of Irving's successful narratives. He never after- 
wards reached their level. He often fell far below it. 
In The Tales of a Traveller, the reader sometimes finds 
the author descending to the merely pathetic or only mys- 
terious of his contemporaries; in the excellent legends of 
The Alhambra, the virtues above recorded are repeated in 
a more romantic medium, but, on the whole, with less com- 
plete success. 

Irving's popularity as a story-teller began in 1820. His 
success was as great in England as in America. After 
1820, therefore, one expects more examples of well-bal- 
anced tales of mystery or pathos in either country, but, 
in the first decade, looks almost vainly. William Austin's 
Peter Rugg (1824) is a striking exception, perhaps the 
only notable instance in America before 1830. In Eng- 
land, there is John Sterling, whose allegorical, half-mysti- 
cal, and sometimes altogether beautiful tales, are of a far 
different kind of romanticism, and will come up for dis- 
cussion later ; Scott, who only experimented ; and Richard 
Thomson, for whom it is probably too late to get a due 
meed of praise. 

Romanticism of an advanced and rather unhealthy kind 
befogged all but this handful of short-story tellers and 
kept down the average of achievement. It was not the 
German romanticism of Tieck, Fouque, and their com- 
patriots. This had scarcely arrived as yet. Indeed, Car- 
lyle's preface to his 1827 translations from these writers 
shows that he thought himself to be the introducer of a 
new genre into English literature. And he was — for very 
few examples seem to have appeared in English before this 


time of the romantic story with an idea behind it so 
characteristic of German romanticism. On the con- 
trary, the romance in the stories of the native annuab 
and magazines of this early period was a blend of three 
distinctly English elements. One of these was gross, 
one substantial, one exquisite. The Gothic romance of 
Mrs. Radcliffe, Monk Lewis, and their followers, sup- 
plied much of the coarser terror, the extravagance, 
and the unreality of the "average contributor," whose 
innumerable tales we endeavored just now to dispose 
of in a single paragraph. Scott, as novelist, is the sub- 
stantial element, but, except in the historical anecdote, 
it is surprising to see how unavailing were his healthy 
methods to save the little fellows among his contempo- 
raries from the banal in their stories. The third element 
is the most intangible, perhaps the most important. It 
came from the romanticism of the great poets who, stirred 
on by the same romantic movement, had been building 
up throughout this period a new era in English verse. 
Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Hood, to a far less de- 
gree Wordsworth, are indirectly responsible for some of 
the mawkish sentimentality, bathos, unrestrained horror, 
and sensibility of these short stories. The exquisitely 
sentimental tales of Keats, the weird narratives of Cole- 
ridge, the morbidly pathetic romances of Byron, all belong 
to the years preceding or included in the period just chron- 
icled. A pure flame of romance kindled such sparks from 
the fine minds of the poets ; in contact with grosser spirits, 
this flame, intensified by the poetry through which it 
passed, threw down a precipitate of ridiculously over- 
strained prose narrative. Of the few worthy writers 
mentioned, Miss Mitford was saved from this dis- 



aster by her leanings towards rural realism, John Ster- 
ling because he was a poet himself, Scott by his own 
sane genius, Irving by his eighteenth century clarity, 
composure, and humor. He alone was able so to blend 
these many influences as to make a really great short 
story in such a time, and only one disciple seems to 
have followed successfully after him. Yet evil may 
lead to good. It was the extravagance rather than the 
restraint of this tumultuous period which gave an oppor- 
tunity to the next great American story-teller. 



LITERARY masterpieces of the first order in the 
short story have, so far, been rare. Poe not only 
added to their number, he made, as it were, two master- 
pieces to spring after him where one might have grown 
before. Yet. the work of this surprising American rises 
directly from the welter of sentimental, horrific narrative 
of the periodicals of his day; it is, in general, of like 
purpose, and of like substance, and was easily classified by 
his contemporaries as another variety of the " grim tale." 
With all Poe's tremendous versatility, his obscure phases 
of a complex genius, and his manifold debts to universal 
literature, it is not to be forgotten that, at the beginning 
of his career, in 1833, he belonged distinctly to the 
school of romantic emotionalism where the Landons and 
the Shelleys had been experimenting. Nevertheless, 
though born of this school, he had already overtopped 
its most strenuous efforts. 

The very pathetic, or very horrible story was, as the 
last chapter recorded, the ware most readily sold in 
English periodical-markets of the twenties and thirties. 
If, at the upper end of its register, one found the powerful 
Ancient Mariner, or the intensely sensuous tales of 
Keats, at the other were those prose narratives whose 
appeal was only to the mawkish sensibilities of a sentimen- 



tal generation. By them, the mind was left unfluttered, 
untouched, be the subject as horrid or as pathetic as 
you please. There is much in the work of Poe for which 
they supply no adequate source. 

At a little earlier period, Germany, too, was experi- 
menting with sensibility, especially with sensibility to the 
mysterious or awful. In the first decades of the century, 
the art of arousing such feelings in Teutonic hearts was 
largely appropriated by the so-called romantic school 
of German novelists and poets, that literary group about 
which Heine wrote so brilliantly. The most interesting 
characteristic of their fiction was a thought or idea worked 
into the fabric of a strange or terrible story so that a 
thrill should run through the mind as well as the body 
of the reader. This characteristic is to be found in 
literature earlier than the so-called romantic school. It 
belongs to the most romantic parts of Faust, and to The 
Sorrows of Werther] its genesis may be in the transcen- 
dental philosophy of Schelling and Fichte. But let us 
keep to the poets and story-tellers, who embodied dreams, 
introspections, guesses at the nature of the soul, in the 
ghosts, elves, double personalities, soulless spirits, wild 
adventure, and sudden death which that romantic time 
had ready at hand for them. There is Tieck, who wrote, 
in The Runenberg (1802), of the beautiful spirit calling 
the hero's other self away from duty to the mountains; 
Hoffmann and his hideous sandman, who is perhaps an 
evil genius, perhaps the soul's own weakness viewed 
objectively; Fouquc and the lovely Undine, who learns, 
in the sadness of her romance, what it means to have a 
soul. Such stories traffic in pathos, in mystery, or in 
horror, and work upon the sensibilities of their readers. 


But, with all their formlessness anij their overwrought 
fantasy, they are superior to their English kin of the 
annuab in more than virility and art. They have an 
idea, a thought, a conception at the core, and therefore 
grapple with the mind and stir the emotions of the soul. 
There is, of course, every reason for supposing that 
the instant any English writer possessed of an intensity 
of thought equal to his depth of feeling should take up 
the weakly emotional story, some heightening of its effects 
would result, and the intellect of the reader would no 
longer remain unimpressed. Even though the highly- 
wrought, half-symbolic narratives which John Sterling 
contributed to Thr Athenxum in the late twenties show 
some traces of Germanism, they arc evidence that such 
a development was bound to come without external 
influence. Yet the quickening agency of this German 
school in the genius of Poe is not now to be doubted. 
Several monographs have been published to show his 
biowlcdgc of the German language and of the German 
omantic writers. Parallels between his stories and those 
i HoSmann's have been pointed out which are close 
wugh to prove a knowledge, a sympathy, and a lion- 
ke borrowing. Still more convincing are his own half- 
fled assertions. To be sure, the terror in his stories, 
he said in his preface to the Tales of the Grotesque 
i the Arabetque, was " not of Germany, but of the 
X." The terror of these German predecessors, how- 
r, is precisely a terror of the soul, for the first time 
tmatically wrought into fiction. In the hands of 
it gained enormously in art, and awakened the 
ions by means peculiar to his own genius. Yet 
tan readily believe that his Roderick in The House 


of Usher, who pored over books which had the " character 
of phantasm," Morella, who was interested in the trans- 
cendentalism of Schelling and Fichte, i^lgxus, whom 
** the realities of the world affected — ^as visions," are all 
identical with the young Poe when he freed his mind 
and later his fancy in the fields where Novalis sought 
the blue flower and all the German romanticists wan- 
dered. He seems, indeed, to have read as a young man 
much that the Germans had been reading, cultivated an 
introspective and intensely mystical view of his own 
personality in a fashion very characteristic of them, and, 
furthermore, familiarized himself with the stories of 
Hoffmann and of Tieck, wherein mysticism, complexities 
of the mind, terror of the soul, had been made to pay 
dividends through the agency of moderately good narra- 
tive. To say that Poe was a creature of German influ- 
ence would be absurd. To say that German thought 
and fancy were sympathetic to his genius, would be putting 
it too mildly. Between these extremes the truth must lie. 
How Poe's " thin and pallid lips " would have curled if 
one had called him a transcendentalist,— one of '* our 
friends of The Dial," as he sneeringly designated Emer- 
son and the Concordians! Transcendentalism denotes, 
nevertheless, the quality in which Poe and these German 
story-tellers were alike. When brought to bear upon a 
goose-flesh tale of terror, that preoccupation with the 
things of the mind, which accompanied, or flowed from, 
transcendentalism, was bound to give the story substance. 
The night-walking ghost of the grim tale would be 
transformed into " the blot upon the brain that will show 
itself without." The objective story would be changed 
to a subjective one. The terror, if it struck at all, would 


be made to strike through to the soul. Such a metamor- 
phosis, as far as their imperfect technique would permit, 
was the accomplishment of the German romanticists. 
Such a metamorphosis, to a far higher degree, was 
wrought by Poc. 

The importance of this philosophical element in Poe's 
story-telling is not to be measured by the opportunity 
which it presents for discussions in comparative literature. 
Its real importance lies in the effect upon the short story. 
In the past, most short stories had lacked specific gravity. 
Their weight in proportion to their size was less than 
that of the novel or the romance. These new tales 
gained weight by the idea which inspired them. The 
public, eager for grim stories, and getting fiction which 
reached no deeper than the hair, received at last full 
value for its money. Germans began the transforma- 
tion; only began it, for if there is weight there is also 
verbosity in German stories, and, pace Mr. Brownell, 
very little art to make up for it. Poe, following parallel 
lines, gave the short story of the romantic variety worth 
as well as weight. The conception of gloomy terror 
which impregnates The House of Usher is as complete 
as the idea of medieval chivalry underlying Ivanhoe, 
Amontillado, Ligeia, or The Masque of the Red Death, 
are as ounces of lead. Short as they are, they have more, 
not less, than the specific gravity required for durable 
literature, and, furthermore, they are excellent artistically. 
This transformation, when successful, was the first step 
in the nineteenth century's remodeling of the short story. 

Before we leave the question of the soil whence sprang 
the genius of Poe, that curiously perfect plant — ^night- 
shade if you will, — ^it is worth our while to speculate 


on the effect of his own nationality as it combined with 
the English and German fashion which he was following. 
Except Irving, he is the first American whom we have 
discussed, and Irving's subjects alone betray his nativity. 
More is to be said of the nation^il characteristics of Poe, 
partly as to taste, style, and like matters to be discussed 
later, partly as regards less obvious effects of environment 
upon his genius. He was an American with an English 
education. This made him somewhat cosmopolitan, and 
therefore more susceptible to currents of thought from 
abroad than would otherwise have been the case. He 
was young, and an American, at a time when an idealistic 
movement was in strong progress in his country. This 
encouraged the mystical tendencies of his mind. He 
was a fellow countryman of Irving. Through all of 
Foe's younger life, Irving was the reverenced master of 
American literature, the first American to gain recogni- 
tion abroad. His greatest success had been won in the 
short story, to which he kept because there he felt him- 
self mpst original and most at home (P. M. Irving's Life 
of Irving, ii., 226-7). That this success was due as 
much to the perfection of telling as to the story substance 
itself, so keen a critic as Poe could not fail to discern. 
Thus a powerful stimulus, the example of a success, 
perceptibly attainable for him also, must have urged on 
the younger author to write stories of a high degree 
of artistic excellence. Irving was the admiration of 
both races. Yet how infinitely more imperative must 
have been the call to go and do likewise for an American, 
one of a vainglorious nation, who had scored, so far, but 
a single literary triumph which England was ready to 


Poe must divide with the Germans, though his share 
was greater, the credit of giving specific gravity to the 
short story. But his tales of the grotesque and arabesquey 
with the exception of the Canterbury stories, the best 
known and most influential in English, were made possible 
by a tour de force which was all his own. Leaving be- 
hind questions of origin, influence, and source, I follow 
Sainte-Beuve, and begin the endeavor to come at the more 
intimate and personal secrets of the art and power of 
Poe by a study of his first great success. The MS. 
Found in a Bottle won Poe $100 in The Saturday 
Visitor Competition of 1833, and his first popular repu- 
tation. This MS. records, in vividly realistic narrative, 
the experiences of a wanderer cast from the wreck of 
his own boat upon a vast spectral ship, manned by an 
ancient crew, and coursing tumultuously dead south over 
a frightful sea, until, as the story ends, an engulfing 
whirlpool in a vast amphitheater gapes for them, and 
amid the '* thundering of ocean and tempest, the ship is 
quivering — Oh God ! and — going down ! " 

Now, there are dozens of contemporary stories where 
terrible adventures figure, but this first Poe tale contains 
a new thrill. Why? Of course, it is partly because 
this young writer (he was probably only twenty-two 
when he composed the story) had relearned the old, easy, 
yet so universally neglected art of Defoe, the use of the 
specific word. Every one does it now, and usually with 
such gross plethora. of highly-colored verbs and adjectives 
that, even though Poe wrote with so strong an appeal 
to the senses that the wildest tale reads as if it had 
happened, our jaded taste may prejudice his achievement. 
Here are a few sentences from the story under discussion : 


" Her huge hull was of a deep dingy black, unrelieved 
by any of the customary carvings of a ship. A single 
row of brass cannon protruded from her open ports, 
and dashed from the polished surfaces the fires of in- 
numerable battle lanterns which swung to and fro about 
her rigging. — For a moment of intense terror she paused 
upon the giddy pinnacle as if in contemplation of her 
own sublimity, then trembled, and tottered, and — came 
down." But this vivid style is not, as so often with 
that contemporary master of specific prose, De Quinccy, 
an end in itself, it is only a means to an end. It is one 
of several means to the end that a tremendous impression 
of the terrible at sea should be forced upon the most 
callous reader. The introductory paragraph, where one 
learns how scientific and how unfanciful is this traveler 
who is to tell such a strange story, is another means, 
this time to make the tale read true, and hence convey 
a stronger impression. The character of the hero, a man 
who courts desperation with the coolness of the desperate, 
is yet another device to make the narrative real and im- 
pressive, for his character is in keeping with the tale of 
a hurricane sweeping the ship into the eternal night of 
the Antarctics. Thus this whole story is in every way 
bound up with a governing artistic purpose which never 
relaxes until the last word is written. Deeper than the 
vivid, gloriously rhythmic style, deeper than the study 
of the hero's morbid personality, deeper than the adven- 
tures which thrill the nerve of the macabre, is the power 
which controls them all, the power and purpose to play 
the literary game with an artistic plan, every stroke 
controlled and effective, the end ever served by the means, 
and that end one deep impression upon the mind of his 


reader. This purpose and power is the most interesting 
deduction from Poe*s first masterpiece. 

But The MS. Found in a Bottle is not completely 
typical even of Poe's earliest narrative work. We must 
add to our critical analysis a study of what seems to have 
been his earliest experiment in the introspective story, 
Berenice, a tale composed probably in 1833, and published 
in 1835. Berenice is one of the most distinctly unpleasant 
stories in literature. Terror of the soul in this case 
becomes torture of the stomach. But it is a remarkable 
piece of narrative construction and very probably the first 
thoroughgoing illustration of the technique of the modern 
short story, ^gaeus, the hero of Berenice, is a spiritual 
relative of the heroes of Ligeia, Morella, and Eleanora. 
In this instance, the romantic environment of boyhood, 
reading of the mystics, and a solitary life, have given 
£gxus a specialized disorder. He is troubled with 
superattentiveness, and ponders for hours upon some 
phrase, object, or word, which becomes, as it were, an 
idea, and his mental life. The beautiful Berenice, when 
she was a healthy being, never aroused his attention. 
Then a strange disease, withering her beauty, caused 
abnormalities in feature and form, until, for the dis- 
tempered mind of the hero, she began to have some 
appeal. Thanks to his strange attentiveness to detail, 
her abnormal features caught upon his mind. He decided 
to marry her. Afterwards, his diseased brain continued 
to warp, until, in a terrible moment, every faculty was 
absorbed in an attentive contemplation of the teeth of 
Berenice, " long, narrow, and excessively white, with 
the pale lips writhing about them." One sees faintly 
from this digest, niost impressively from the story itself, 


that the horrible conclusion when the white teeth, torn 
in an insanity from the buried but still living Berenice, 
drop and are scattered to and fro about the floor, is 
absolutely logical; furthermore, that every turn of the 
plot leads to it, and every rhythmic description lends aid 
to establish the necessary tone. 

In this story Poe is again a master of an artistic 
purpose, as in The MS, Found in a Bottle, and more 
cunning, more sparing of materials. But this is by no 
means all. The MS. is descriptive narrative only. 
Berenice is a well-plotted story which totally embraces 
the significant actions in the lives of two characters, 
and does so with an economy of means hitherto unknown, 
and a force and vividness not hitherto surpassed. As 
you compare its artificial (but how effective!) develop- 
ment with earlier tales, the secret of the technique of 
the modern short story comes with a rush. * Our short 
story is a result of an artistic purpose; of an artistic 
purpose worked out, as in this instance, by means of 
an emphasis of the climax of the story. Suppose that 
a man should be so obsessed by the sight of certain teeth 
that he would go for them to the grave. This is the 
story nucleus of Berenice. Take the last clause — ^** go 
for them to the grave." Put all the stress on it in your 
thinking. Develop your hero so that it would be probable 
that he would go for them to the grave. Modulate 
your style until the tone is such that your reader is in 
the mood where there is no humor in teeth stolen from 
the grave. Shift, in this fashion, all emphasis to the 
climax of the story, and, instantly, the whole art of the 
modern short story is demanded of you ; for due structural 
change and rhetorical improvement must follow if you 


are to make vivid, memorable, and significant the climax 
in which your narrative culminates. Poe gave specific 
gravity to the short story, but his just described invention 
was far more important. By means of this shift of 
emphasis it has become easy to secure the effective unity 
of impression so desirable in a short story. This concen- 
tration upon the climax was the great first cause of all 
those niceties of construction which Professors Matthews 
and Baldwin have excellently expounded in their studies 
of modern short narrative. And it was by this simple 
device that Poe learned to pack into a few pages such 
effective significance. 

Berenice is artificial. In structure, every story of 
Poe's, and many of those that followed, are highly 
sophisticated. Let us therefore be somewhat artificial 
in criticism; suppose that we have the beginning and the 
end of the problem, and seek for its middle. The solution 
of the beginning is that Poe, in common with the popular 
short-story writers of his times, sought to achieve mystery, 
pathos, horror by his stories (let the tales of ratiocination 
stand aside for an instant), but wishing to strike deeper 
than the sensibilities with which Miss Roberts and 
L. E. L. toyed, reach toward the intellect and the soul. 
For the end of the problem — he succeeded in his attempt 
by fixing the attention upon the climax of his story, 
usually some outward sign of an inward horror, such 
as Berenice's teeth, the physical terrors of the Antarctic, 
or the fall of the House of Usher, and always with this 
result, that the reader sees, feels, thinks of the ** unique 
effect " of the story, and of nothing else. If the modern 
short story has a technique, here it is ; if it is an invention, 
Poe invented it. The question that remains is the un* 


solved middle of the problem. How did it come to be 
Poe who devised this new method of telling a stoiy, 
a method used by nine-tenths of the notable short-stoiy 
writers since? 

The reason, in general, is that the urge of the time 
upon the first genius who should devote himself to this 
narrative of the emotions was necessarily towards a de- 
velopment of structure. Apparitions, double personalities, 
all the new plots which the romantic movement had 
provided and the story-tellers experimented with, were 
current and had failed of any great literary success. 
The Germans came nearest to success from the very 
strength and variety of their fantasy. They added specific 
gravity to the short narrative, but only tales like Tieck's 
The Goblet, which fell naturally into good short-story 
form, can be called well told. They failed ultimately 
for lack of structure. Irving, to be sure, had reached 
the pinnacle by dissolving his smaller share of fancy 
in the perfect liquid of a classic style, but he stood away 
from the movement, even threw back to earlier forms. 
Poe, on the contrary, was a romanticist to the core, and 
one who looked through realities into the dream world 
beyond. He was likewise a genius, and so the man 
of men to give strength and intensity to the weak story 
of the emotions and sensibilities. 

But that he succeeded, and provided the needed road 
of easy expression for all this lurid story-making, was 
due to a more particular cause. Poe was poet and critic 
before he was story-teller. As poet, he came strongly 
under the influence of that sensuous verse of which 
G)leridge was prophet, Keats and the young Tennyson 
prime disciples. If one draws up the rhetoric of this 


poetry, it appears that the carefully calculated effects of 
The Ancient Mariner or The Eve of St, Agnes — effects 
of mystery, horror, beauty, the most sensuous of the 
emotions — are to be conveyed, primarily, by the conno- 
tative power of words, secondarily, by such arrangement 
of those incidents, moods, descriptions which make up 
the poem, as may best secure the desired effect. Impres- 
sionism, in its best sense, is the name which fits the 
technical process employed. Poe*s verse, at any time 
after the end of his subserviency to Byron and to Moore, 
is in evident sympathy with this art. His critical com- 
ments show his agreement with its principles. 

But Foe was also a keen and practical critic, whose 
criticism was in close relation to his own composition. 
He practised what he preached and preached what he 
practised. As early as the introduction to the 1831 
edition of his poems, he was thinking out the relation 
between poetry and prose: "A poem, in my opinion, 
is opposed to a work of science by having for its imme- 
diate object, pleasure, not truth; to romance, by having, 
for its object, an indefinite instead of a definite pleasure." 
Clearly, at this time, when he was just beginning to 
work upon the short story, the purpose which he set 
for his narratives was a pleasure like to, but more 
definite than, the sensuous impression which he had en- 
deavored to achieve by his verse. The nature of this 
definite pleasure, which was to be the aim of narrative, 
is clearly explained in the later, and often quoted, criti- 
cism of Hawthorne's tales published in Graham's Maga- 
zine for May, 1842. There Poe maintained that the 
purpose of short narrative should be ** a certain unique 
or single effect" an effect which could be attained more 


readily in prose than in verse, because in prose the writer 
could employ his materials with a freedom which the 
rhythm of poetry would not permit. 

From these critical dicta, we can deduce his reasons 
for applying impressionistic methods to the short story. 
He was a devotee of sensuous poetry and the pleasure 
which it gave. Hence he wished to secure a like pleasure 
from prose narrative; but discovered, first, that narrative 
demanded a more definite pleasure, a more concentrated 
effect, if a sensuous impression were to result; and next, 
that prose lent itself far more readily than poetry to 
the structural changes necessary in order to secure this 
unique effect and this intense concentration. These dis- 
coveries were bound to be made the instant Poe began 
to carry over his interest in sensuous effects into prose. 
In poetry there is a connotative value of the word which 
can never be attained in prose. The word, therefore, 
is not so powerful when we try to make, not verse, but 
prose impressionistic, and structure springs instantly to a 
superior importance. For, as Poe himself pointed out, 
prose is more flexible than verse, and more readily altered 
into the sequence and proportion of incident desired. If 
one tries to put The Ancient Mariner or Hood's Eugene 
Aram into prose, this theory will prove itself, for once 
the charm of words set in rhythm is lost, the arrangement 
of the incidents and their proportioning begin to impose 
tyrannical obligations upon the transposes Poe seems 
to have tried such an experiment, but with new stories 
instead of old. Busying himself with prose narrative, 
after he had already solved his problem for verse, he 
worked out the solution as we have seen it worked out 
in the two stories already analyzed, securing his '' effect " 



mainly by a newly devised structure, yet not neglecting 
the careful choice of words, rhythm, and poetical height- 
ening of style. In this way, his theory of poetry, trans- 
forming itself to a theory of prose narrative, automatically 
gave birth to the changes in structure which made possible 
a new kind of short story. 

This high desire for one intense impression of the 
idea, the emotion, or the vision of the writer moulds all 
the greatest tales of Poe, and it alone could have made 
possible such powerful and artificial stories as Usher, 
Ligeia, Amontillado, The Black Cat, and the others 
of this kind. Perhaps an " attentiveness " like that of 
^gxus, a susceptibility to all sensations like Roderick's, 
qualities to be found in Poe himself, are, to some extent, 
responsible for the unique success with which these stories 
proceed unwaveringly to their fearful end. Perhaps 
this success may also be psychologically connected with 
that other quality of Poe*s brain, his ratiocinative power, 
which made him the first teller of great detective stories. 
At all events, the two are united in practice. In The 
Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Gold-Bug, The Pur- 
loined Letter, stories which share, and perhaps share 
predominantly in Poe's reputation as a story-teller, an 
effort of pure reason has been put into compact and 
effective story form by the method of construction already 
developed for his studies in impressionism. The em- 
phasis has been put upon the solution of the mystery, 
instead of upon a climatic incident as in the tales of the 
grotesque. And the reader will notice, in these ratiocina- 
tive stories, sentences, paragraphs, and pages which block 
the narrative, detract from the total effect, and read 
like explanatory notes incorporated in the text, a fault 


of which Poe was never guilty in the tales where his 
theory of impressionism had uninterrupted sway. 

It is tiresome to be always talking of technique, and 
yet it is very difficult to speak of Poe and leave technique 
out of the question. The stories of ratiocination, barring 
the style, and such a conception as that of M. Dupin, 
are all technique. The tales of the grotesque would be 
impossible, so subtle are their effects, without the tech- 
nique. And yet, if we look upon these latter and most 
characteristic narratives of our author, disengage his 
conceptions from the results which he attained with them, 
think over his characters, and regard his setting, one 
does not feel so sure of Poe's eminence in literature. As 
a student of personality he knew to its depths only one, 
his own. That should be enough if he knew it truly. 
But if abnormal, or viewed abnormally! If warped in 
the presentation by an attentiveness to the occasional, the 
merely possible manifestation! Roderick Usher, for in- 
stance — is he not artificially abnormal? And those pro- 
jections of Poe's own personality which are imbued with 
the elixir drawn from his love of certain women : Ligeia, 
Morella, Eleanora, is there not in them a certain 
noxious mixing of dreams, of diseased mind-states, and 
of reality which precludes, not success, for literature is 
not anthropology, but the soundest, and highest art of 
literature? Perhaps we are too near Poe to judge, 
too little advanced even yet on the road of subjective 
analysis. Or possibly we are too far from the stir of 
the romantic movement to judge fairly, too little affected 
by what the next true romanticist will consider the 
very material for his art. And yet, as we read of 
Eleanora and the bizarre valley of many scented grasses, 


of the Gothic chamber where the body of Lady Rowena 
of Tremaine stirred with the soul of Ligeia, of Montresor 
who so mockingly left the drunken jester buried alive 
in his vaults, the doubt will come — in spite of all the 
magic of narrative, of impressionism, of technique, is 
this healthy? Is it the material from which great 
literature is made? The question is unfair. Guava, 
the tropical fruit, is ill-flavored when raw, but it makes 
the most delicious of jellies. The morbid figures of 
Poe's imagination, be they untrue, or fabricated from 
supernormal truth, make you fed the horror, beauty, 
mystery, or terror of the mind. And they do it whether 
you like them or not. They accomplish legitimate results, 
thanks to technique, and that is all that art requires of 
them. Thus, as is right, we involve Poe's subject-matter 
with Poe's technique again, and the discussion ends where 
it began. 

There is one detraction to be registered. Whether a 
fault of his environment — for we remember what English- 
men thought of us, and how banal Englishmen themselves 
sometimes were— or a defect of his nature, certainly Poc 
is not always in good taste. For example, in that ex- 
travaganza in landscape gardening, The Domain of 
Arnheim, there is, for all its beauty, some bad taste. 
The scenery inclines to the melodramatic, the cluster 
of Saracenic-Gothic minarets at the heart of the paradise 
is — ^well, doubtful. In many dialogues, too, throughout 
the stories, the faint hint comes again, now suggested by 
a word that is fulsome, now by a description that is 
overstrained. The fault is not easily pointed out or de- 
fined, since it is neither vulgarity nor ostentation, yet 
now and then, in The Assignation, in Usher, in JVilliam 


Wilson, even in the exquisite Morella, one wishes that 
the rooms were not furnished just so, that the trappings 
of feudalism were not displayed quite so lavishly, that 
the college profligate was not quite so crass, black horror 
painted not quite so thickly! My criticism is intentionally 
unspecific, for it is hard to pick out one instance without 
seeming too nice, and impossible to include many. This 
leads, however, to firmer ground, and explains my neglect 
of some volumes of Poe's narrative work. In a letter of 
March, 1843, Mrs. Carlyle remarked of humorous stories, 
'* All the books that pretend to amuse in our day come, in 
fact, either luider that category, which you except against, 
* the extravagant clown-jesting sort,' or still worse, under 
that of what I should call the galvanised-deathVhead- 
grinning sort. There seems to be no longer any genuine, 
heartfelt mirth in writers of books." Poe lacked a good 
sense of humor. What he had was precisely of the clown- 
jesting or galvanised-death's-head sort, the humor of the 
school of Hood, whose poorer narratives his own bur- 
lesques faintly resemble. Like many another man, he 
erroneously supposed himself to be funny. He was not, 
and his lack of taste shows in his vain attempts. At 
satire he was little better than at mirth, and the tempered 
excellence of his one successful satiric venture, Dr, Tan 
and Prof, Fether, was due more to the possibilities of 
its plot than to any satire, latent or otherwise. Back 
to your horrors, young man, Keat's reviewer might have 
said with justice. 

One more eulogistic paragraph remains to be added. 
Like a corona about Poe's serious stories is an eflusion 
of beauty and power — ^beauty from the solemn, rhythmic 
style, and the perfect tone of the setting, power from 


the force of the ideas, the precision of the images even 
when most iEantastic And this beauty and power is 
dependent upon no literary influences, upon no develop- 
ment culminating in this one man ; it is the flower of his 
own genius, with a value absolute and for itself. With- 
out other consideration, it gives to Poe*s tales a rank 
among the masterpieces of style. 

But we would hail Poe first as a master of technique; 
as the great craftsman in English narrative, perhaps the 
most influential innovator since Richardson. The strong 
and still increasing flow of literary energy into the 
channels of the short story opened by his art is witness 
that he deserves this title. If to the highly organized 
short narrative which his followers pour out in pursuance 
of the lessons first taught by him, some of us prefer 
the simple, unemphatic tale of Chaucer, this means no 
detraction from the enormous value of his discovery — a 
value not half-developed as yet in this study — ^but merely 
that to Foe, Stevenson, or Kipling, we prefer — Chaucer. 
Next, he is also the undisputed lord of the bizarre, the 
terrible, the mysterious in fiction. The loftiness of his 
achievement here may sometimes be questioned, not so 
much, I fancy, on the ground of decadence or abnormality 
in his subjects, as because of a little bad taste which, 
like an economic error, has shown itself only many years 
after commission. But as an expert commanding the 
resources of fiction, and as an artist supreme in putting 
into action all that can arouse the terror of the soul, 
Poe is worthy of the highest and most discriminating 



POE is a more glorious, Hawthorne a more sympa- 
thetic study for the American critic. The former, 
at his best, is always cosmopolitan; the latter betrays 
on every page a perplexing, but certainly a thoroug^y 
American personality. The genius of Poe wrought upon 
the current narrative of his time with the results recorded 
in the last chapter; this personality of Hawthorne exer- 
cised itself as powerfully upon the same material, the 
product belonging to that still scanty literature of which 
an American may say. Here is how some of us have felt 
and thought according to our own race and our own 

The short story familiar to the young Hawthorne 
was romantic narrative of the kind practised in the 
annuals, and it was in the school of the annuals that 
he began to write. Grimness, for example, appealed 
to him as to the rest of his generation. In one of his 
earliest stories, Alice Doane's Appeal, the narrator pro- 
fesses to be pleased when the terror of the incidents sets 
the nerves of his audience trembling, nor does this fashion 
fail to be reflected in many later narratives. The mys* 
terious, again, was his favorite province, albeit he trod 
there for his own purposes. The sentimental — ^here his 
somber spirit was too austere for the Zeitgeist, as Poe's 



was too intense. Many a tale of Hawthorne's might 
have been as sentimental as the most sickly of The Token 
or The Forget-me-not, if its author had not worked below 
the levels from which sentimentality bubbles. He began, 
in truth, as a worker in the hot-house gardens cultivated 
by Mrs. Shelley and Emma Roberts; but he soon trans- 
cended such narrow limits. 

Indeed, if we are seeking the spiritual kinsmen of 
Hawthorne, we must leave this English group of writers 
and look to the German romanticists. Tieck's mystic 
stories. The Fair Haired Eckbert (1796), and The 
Runenberg (1802), are romances with a moral analysis 
behind them, and so, at least in this particular, resemble 
the later American stories. There is also a resemblance 
to Hawthorne in Hoffmann's Sandmann, which depicts 
an unpleasant personality whose influence upon the weak 
hero symbolizes the feebleness of the latter's will ; indeed, 
the idea of this story is paralleled in Hawthorne's early 
tale, The Prophetic Pictures. Der Sandmann was pub- 
ished in 181 7, before Hawthorne's career had begun. Yet 
neither here, nor elsewhere, is there reason to suppose 
even sa much dependence upon Germany as in the case 
of Poe. It is true that a rather typical selection of trans- 
lations into English from the German romanticists was 
scattered in periodicals and in book form before 1830. 
It is true that Hawthorne might have been influenced 
by some of these narratives, or by the other literature 
which flowed from German romanticism. But scholars 
who found possible sources for his tales in German, have 
been referred to undoubted sources in The American 
Note-Books. This circumstance, and the thoroughly 
un-German form of The Twice-Told Tales, make it 


tolerably certain that the foreign influence was of the 
kind which is said to be " in the air." One remembers 
that Edward Caryl, hero of Hawthorne's early story, 
The Antique Ring, had been writing " tales imbued 
with German mysticism." Just so with Hawthorne, 
whom this character thinly disguises. The evidence 
sufiices merely to prove that he was " imbued " with 
the German phase of romanticism. 

This kinship with the Germans I have called spiritual. 
The like might be said of Hawthorne's relations to John 
Sterling, an English writer, but not of the annualist 
breed, who survives by virtue of Carlyle's biography 
of him, and Mrs. Carlyle's letters, rather than in the 
graceful sketches which, from 1828 to 1840, he con- 
tributed to The Athenaum and Blackwood's. Sterling 
infused these fanciful stories with an ethical or trans- 
cendental significance which, nowadays, we should call 
Hawthornesque. The Palace of Morgiana (1837), ^ 
Chronicle of England (1840) are instances in point. 
"Wisdom's Pearl doth often dwell Closed in Fancy's 
rainbow shell," says the posy at the head of the latter 
story. Hawthorne, in his search for wisdom's pearl by 
means of fancy, resembles this contemporary Englishman. 
He is related to the German romanticists in his fondness 
for the weird, the mystical, and the supernormal mani- 
festations of the spirit. It is unnecessary to establish 
more definitely his connection with the romantic move- 
ment, and we may, therefore, pass on to more important 

I have no desire to maintain that the prepotent per- 
sonality of Hawthorne, a personality powerful enough 
to restamp into new coin both the gold and the alloy 


of the " current story/* was that of the typical American. 
Probably, as yet, there is no such type. But an American 
personality through and through, bred from home tra- 
ditions, fostered upon home culture, and as independent 
of foreign influences as a cultured mind well could be, 
it is safe to maintain his to have been* He was American, 
for example, in combining the two traits which have 
been so often ascribed to us; on the one hand, a high 
idealism amounting to mysticism, on the other, an extreme 
desire for reality. Indeed, the conjunction of these two 
qualities in his character is the best point at which to 
enter upon the study of Hawthorne. 

First, for the secret of the idealism. " His soul was 
like a star and dwelt apart.*' Hawthorne's solitary way 
of life, his fondness for the word " recluse," the testimony 
of friends, make one sure that he would have been 
gratified had this line been applied to him. It is perfectly 
clear that his inmost thoughts seldom appear in the diaries 
which have been published as his notebooks. He scorns 
the Quaker who professed to know him through his 
works, and professes to despise the seemingly personal 
thoughts of the Mosses from an Old Manse. "A 
cloudy veil stretches over the abyss of my nature." So 
he wrote in his notebook in 1843. " I am glad to think 
that God sees through my heart, and, if any angel has 
power to penetrate into it, he is welcome to know any- 
thing that is there. Yes, and so may any mortal who 
is capable of full sympathy, and therefore worthy to come 
into my depths. But he must find his own way there. 
I can neither guide nor enlighten him. It is this in- 
voluntary reserve, I suppose, that has given the objectivity 
to my writings ; and when people think that I am pouring 


myself out in a tale or essay, I am merely telling what 
is common to human nature, not what is peculiar to 
m3rself. I sympathize with them, not they with me." 

What did the veil cover? It is easy to be scornful, 
and answer that it hid nothing more considerable than 
the moonings of a provincial thinker, who was at work 
upon old, old thoughts long since common property, 
although he supposed them to be mystical and his own! 
Is this true? Hawthorne belonged to a group who 
did the thinking for their community, and that community 
was small. Although Emerson was one of the thinkeis, 
and was assuredly busied with no stale thoughts, this is 
no proof that Hawthorne was original. However, such 
an uncomplimentary explanation is superficial. It does 
not explain the tremendous force of what did rise from 
out the abyss, and get itself expressed in Hawthorne's 
published works. 

If we wish to know the truth, we must search these 
works. Had any startling novelty in clear thought lain 
behind the veil (and Hawthorne loved no thought that 
was not clear), would not some manifestation have 
irradiated his books? Would the hours of meditation 
have been thrown aside, and a new and shallower inspira- 
tion drawn upon for work the world was to see? In 
spite of his seeming denial, and no matter how im- 
perfectly, these stories must retain some image of his 
mental life. If a man is busy with original thinking, 
original thought must come forth when he writes. But 
in Hawthorne's books no distinctly new ideas, no thoughts 
derived from novel methods of thinking appear, few 
conceptions excellent chiefly because they are fresh. The 
Birthmark does not owe its force to novelty. There 


ts nothing new in that representative story except details 
oi plot and setting; its idea may be traced through 
languages and centuries. What we do find there is in- 
tensity. And it is not depth, but intensity of thinking 
(vhich appears, to a varying degree, in all of Hawthorne's 
narratives. Though sometimes childlike in simplicity, 
:x>ld and allegorical in expression, they have been con- 
:eived at white heat. Not originality, but force, is their 
prime characteristic. 

In fact, the mind of this recluse seems to have been 
endowed with a certain attentiveness, like Poe's, but this 
time fastened upon the ethical manifestations of human 
nature, character, and the soul. It is this intense de- 
liberation upon life which cast its shadow upon his 
diary, and was transmitted, with what seemed to the 
unhappy author a tremendous loss of intensity, to his 
stories. This attentiveness, I believe, filled his hours of 
meditation, and deeply afiected his outer life. It was 
a mania like Ethan Brand's, less serious, but sometimes, 
to judge from his diaries, scarcely less compelling. In- 
deed, Ethan's terrible obsession by the sin against the 
Holy Ghost is only a perverted image of Hawthorne's 
own mental peculiarities. An obsession by questions of 
ethics or character, this, to judge from what found its 
way into the outer world, was the governing principle 
of Hawthorne's inner life, the life behind the veil. It 
led to idealism, and, as we shall see, to idealism of a very 
exacting nature. 

First a word, however, upon the unavoidable subject 
of Hawthorne's Puritanism. Those who have called him 
a Puritan seem to have recognized his preoccupation with 
moral problems, and sought to give it a name. A liberal- 


minded Unitarian, for whom dogma and the difficulty of 
salvation had only a nineteenth century interest, Haw- 
thorne was, in no sense, a spiritual brother of such as 
G)tton Mather. But there is a mental resemblance. 
It may be that the peculiar intensity of thought, just 
commented upon, was an atavistic return to the witch- 
judges and reh'gious fanatics among Hawthorne's fore- 
fathers. G)mpare his tales with the Grace Abounding 
of one of his favorite authors, John Bunyan* Note, in 
the seventeenth century writer, the circuits of the mind 
round and round the problems of sin, of grace, of his 
soul's state, and the possibility of salvation, and then 
observe Hawthorne's attentiveness to the voices of his 
inner life. The subject-matter of the Twice-Told Tales 
is character, ethics, and the nature of the soul, instead 
of sin, grace, and its chances of salvation, but the habit 
of mind, the conscientious introspectiveness, is identical 
Thus far, Hawthorne is a Puritan. 

" The lyf so short, the craft so longe to lemc." Haw- 
thorne never mastered his art, never, except in a few 
best instances, really controlled it. And this was not 
due to his provincial environment nor to a lack of per- 
sistence, but came about through his idealism, through the 
very ambition of an attempt to make his stories the ripe 
product of that secret inner life whose nature we have 
just been discussing. An extreme attentiveness to the 
nature of humanity must result in abstract thinking, no 
matter how intense the thoughts may be. Good narrative 
is concrete, and highly concrete. Fully half of The 
American Note-Books is made up of Hawthorne's struggles 
to turn one into another; of experiments in crystallizing 
the abstract into the concrete. '' A woman to sympathize 


with all emotions, but to have none of her own "(1837). 
" A person to catch fire-flies, and try to kindle his house- 
hold fire with them. It would be symbolical of some- 
thing" (1838). Here is one suggestive, and one appar- 
ently trivial example. In the first, an idea is caught 
and becomes graspable, but is not yet made so real that 
a story could grow from it. In the second, a symbol 
is recorded in the hope, it seems, that it may serve to 
make tellable some of the speculations which filled his 
brain. Both throw light on Hawthorne's artistic diffi- 
culties. The naked thought had to be clothed in the 
appearance of life before it could leave the abstract and 
become fiction. Unless given the most exact semblanco 
to the affairs of this world, the moral would remain a 
moral, the axiom an axiom, the sermon a sermon, and no 
one would read the story ; indeed, the story, regarded as a 
narrative of the actions of flesh and blood, would never 
come to life at all. And so, through all the notebooks, 
and in the completed stories, a discerning reader will seq 
Hawthorne experimenting, practising with externab, 
which, fitted into words, could be used to cover or embody 
abstract ideas. In this, he exhibits that other phase of 
the typical American temperament, the desire for reality, 
the wish to " get it down in black and white." 

With this in mind, we see the value of the innumerable 
"strange characters," laboriously depicted in the note- 
books. They were preliminary studies for the trans- 
formation of an abstract idea into a real Rappaccini's 
daughter or an Ethan Brand. With this in mind, we 
view sympathetically the scenes minutely described, par- 
ticularly the little sensations of the day: "a gush of 
violets along a wood path," or that observation which 


SO annoyed one critic, '' the smell of peat-smoke in the 
autumnal air is very pleasant ; " and we understand his 
eagerness for measuring coal, earning his salary, all that 
the world called work, an eagerness which appears again 
and again in his letters. One biographer has been so 
misled by these externals as to make his narrative mainly 
an account of them. But consider Hawthorne's artistic 
difficulties, and all of this yearning after the real and 
tangible falls into its proper place. Hawthorne knew 
that his early life had been mainly dreams. We do not 
need his confessions to tell us that he realized how difficult 
was the passage from those dreams to a presentation of 
them which his fellowmen could know to be real and 
true. It is written in every story, and echoes from his 
disappointment when he had done his best and knew 
that most of his fine rapture had escaped. For, though 
dedicated to meditation upon the philosophy of character, 
the desire came upon him to put souls into his ideas, 
to let them be characters and act as in life. He strove 
hard to make them real characters, as art demanded. 
But life, which has no formula, can not be truly seen by 
one who views it only to clothe his formulas with reality. 
In art, no more than in the affairs of the world, can a 
man serve two masters and be sure of success. In spite 
of all efforts, in spite of a faithful, sometimes a tedious 
realism of detail, and an unusual truth of portrayal, the 
thought would not altogether fuse with the narrative^ 
the abstract did not entirely dissolve, and sermon or 
philosophy still choked the flow of the story. Hawthorne 
was true not first, but last, to the realities of the concrete 
world which lay without his mind. 

The e£Eect of this divided allegiance upon the stories 


themselves is almost pathetically easy to trace. No man 
was ever more clearly possessed of the itch of story-telling 
than Hawthorne. Busied with some problem of character, 
his mind would often be seized with the desire to make 
a narrative. The first result was a plot-nugget recorded 
in one of the notebooks. Then, but sometimes years 
later, came the story. If no strong thought was striving 
to express itself, if it was to be a tale like The Seven 
Vagabonds, where careful external descriptions, thrown 
into striking contrasts, were enough for success, see how 
easily his pen runs along the path of almost uninterrupted 
narrative. But if the tale means much to the author, 
if there is a strong thought to be packed into it, observe 
his struggles. Follow through, for instance, the career of 
The Birthmark. Its embryo is in The American Note- 
Books for 1840. "A person to be the death of his 
beloved in trying to raise her to more than mortal per- 
fection; yet this should be a comfort to him for having 
aimed so highly and holily." In such a crystallization 
of thought, the first reaction has taken place between the 
speculation of the recluse and the desire to give it to 
other men in a tangible fashion. It lacks, of course, both 
characters and a practicable plot; these, when added, 
should complete a transformation from abstract to con- 
crete. But Aylmer, the hero, is scarcely flesh and blood. 
He is a formula, conceived with the idea written down 
in the 1840 notebook. A clothing of life-likeness has 
been painstakingly given to him that he may seem a 
real chemist, at real work, and with a most worldly 
ambition. It fits, as well as clothing, but not so well 
as the skin he should have been bom with. In spite 
of honest trying, Hawthorne could not make this formula 


live. Here, nevertheless, are materials for a good short 
story: a powerful idea, reasonably effective characters, 
to which is added the splendid plot of the crimson hand. 
For a realization of the potentiality of these materials, 
sermon should now be dropped, narrative should move 
unhampered. It does move, and with an intensity which 
makes you never forget it, but the movement is not all 
on a right line. When Aylmer fails and Georgiana*s 
birthmark fades away in death, ** a hoarse, chuckling 
laugh was heard again ! Thus ever does the gross fatality 
of earth exult in its invariable triumph over the inmiortal 
essence which, in this dim sphere of half-development, 
demands the completeness of the higher state." Haw- 
thorne could not leave it alone! He felt the intense 
truth of his original idea so strongly that he must needs 
thus emphasize it and at the very climax. Indeed, he 
has enlarged, and varied the sermon at other places in 
the story. Like a speaker who spoils an argument by 
oscillating between its two main points, he swings from 
the more or less concrete Aylmer and the crimson hand 
upon the cheek of Georgiana, to abstract humanity and 
its failure to achieve the highest, then back again, with 
disastrous effect upon artistic unity and narrative vivid- 
ness. The Birthmark strikes deep, it has durable stuff 
in it, but O that Hawthorne conceiving, it had been con- 
structed and written by Poe! 

This analysis, and the theory which preceded it, ex- 
plains, I believe, the peculiarly ethical nature of all of 
Hawthorne's short stories. They are the fruit of an 
intense and abstract speculation upon character, in which 
has been placed the fructifying graft of expression for 
the benefit of other men. This, too, explains their failure 


In the eyes of their author. Like Owen Warland's 
mechanical butterfly in The Artist of the Beautiful, 
which droops and fades upon the practical finger of 
Peter Hovenden, the materialist, so Hawthoroe's imagin- 
ings lost some of their color and beauty when they were 
translated into the terms of human experience. He 
fought against this partial failure, and exulted when» 
after vainly thinking that he could " imagine all passions, 
all feeelings, and states of heart and mind/* there came 
the touch upon the heart which made it possible to con- 
ceive " beings of reality,** to " send thoughts and feelings 
any distance — and transfuse them warm and fresh into 
the consciousness of those whom we love ** (1840). But 
he never ceased being philosopher long enough to be all 
artist, and of his failure to put the final and perfect stamp 
upon his refined gold he seems, in spite of these words, 
to have been well aware. 

Naturally, Hawthorne made progress. He had too 
much genius not to understand that mere allegories would 
not do, nor disquisitions on familiar problems mingled 
with narrative examples. If many of The Twice-Told 
Tales are called, as Poe suggested, essays outright, others 
are far better narrative, and the best of his later stories 
testify, by the effect they have made upon some three 
or four generations of readers, to the success of their 
art. Yet, by a strange circumstance, but, in view of what 
has just been said, a natural one, his most artistic stories 
are not his best. Imagination is to the fore in the 
Legends of the Province House, The White Old Maid, 
and that Hollow of the Three Hills which Poe admired, 
and structure, color, and unity of effect all respond. 
Nevertheless, his best stories are those in which the native 


mood of the man expresses itself most powerfully, and 
as this mood was ethically philosophical, so these stones 
are no mere tales of imaginative effect, but convey, every 
one of them, a weighty and philosophical moral. The 
Great Stone Face, The Birthmark, The Ambitious Guest, 
with a few others like them, are the great tales. They 
have artistic defects in abundance, but also an intensity 
and a power of narrative which gives preeminence over 
the more perfect stories of less specific gravity. If the 
narrative had only dissolved the moral we should have had 
Poe exceeded. But can the snake swallow himself? 
The more strongly this modem Puritan thought and felt, 
the more difficult it was to sink the idea in the figure. 
And in a recluse, and an independent, it is not surprising 
that his art never grew fast enough to master a person- 
ality which grew faster still. 

Thus far, it has seemed to be most important to study 
the nature of that reaction between Hawthorne's inner 
life and his need of expression which explains so much 
that is characteristic in his stories. So doing, I have 
neglected all excellencies except those of moral and spirit- 
ual force, and perhaps overemphasized the artistic defects 
of his narrative. For, when all is said, it is impossible 
to assign to Hawthorne any rank but a high one as a 
story-teller. We grumble at his moralizing, but we 
read his tales, and it is probable that the next generation 
will read them with as much interest. The reasons for 
this enduring interest are complex, but not obscure. He 
was blessed with far more humor than Poe possessed, 
and, in situations where character is involved, quite enough 
of it to account for much of the flavor of the narrative. 
Yet Hawthorne's mind was prevailingly somber; he bad 


not the elasticity of view-point which belongs to the 
great humorist. As for style, in his own vein, when 
romance is to the fore, and exposition left behind, the 
movement of his prose is unequaled in American literature 
for mellow richness or for dignity. It is an early Vic- 
torian, or a pre-Victorian, style, like Lamb's, De Quincey's, 
and Thackeray's, a style charged with poetical feeling, 
and pleasantly savoring of archaism. If it never reaches 
the rhythmic ecstasy of Poe, it never sins by excess of 
rhetorical music. Bad taste of one kind is to be found 
in Hawthorne, but it is a false taste in minor matters 
which misled him in artistic judgment, and never followed, 
as with Poe, into the higher regions of imagination. In- 
deed, with rare exceptions, he is a high artist in words, 
a great stylist even when he most fails in the attempt 
to weld structure, idea, character, and diction into one 
artistic unity. Again, he is a good, if not a great 
romanticist. But his stories owe their longevity most 
of all to the power of their author as an analyst of 
character and as a sane thinker. In this respect, Haw- 
thorne is infinitely more successful than Poe. Measure 
him by the standards of moral inspiration, of ethical 
influence, by any standards save those of high art, and he 
deserves the nobler rating. The flighty mind of Poe, 
morbid, fertile of poses, full of egotisms, proficient in 
short cuts to the profundities, is almost pitiful when one 
compares it with this New England brain, independent, 
steady, ready for little tasks, hiding its power, yet glowing 
white hot with its own intensity. Poe, the greater artist 
indubitably, was the lesser man. Hawthorne said more, 
if he said it less well. He is worthy of his high place 
among American writers. And his stories are great 


stories, even in their imperfection, even though they arc 
made up of, 

" Thoughts hardly to be packed 
Into a narrow act» 
Fancies that broke through language and escaped." 

Hawthorne's position in the development of the short 
story may now be reckoned with some justice. First, 
it is dear that he belongs, with Irving and Poc, to the 
trinity of Americans who, by structure, or by substance, 
or by both, gave specific gravity to the short story when, 
throug}i the romantic movement, it was cut free from 
eighteenth century didacticism. It is in substance that 
he rendered his greatest service. Under his pen, the 
story was supercharged with literary quality, so that the 
shortness of Ethan Brand is as far from intimating that 
it lacks excellence as the brevity bf a Ijrric from implsring 
triviality. In structure his services are less notable, not 
so much because he could not construct, as that, for 
reasons already explained, his best story material was 
at war with a purely narrative development. It is in- 
teresting to compare The Ambitious Guest of 1835 with 
Poe's Berenice, published in the same 3rear. In the 
former, a tragedy of an avalanche, it is important that 
the reader should know that the climax is not the death 
of all in the great slide, but the sudden end of that 
ambition which has been spreading infectiously from 
the guest to the simple household of his hosts. It took 
a master of story-telling to realize this, as Hawthorne 
did, and the mere attempt to accomplish such a purpose 
by means of a simple situation is enoug}i to make a good 
short story. But whereas Berenice moves uninterruptedly 


to its horrid conclusion, this far nobler story is halted, 
like The Birthmark, while ambition in the abstract is 
lugged in to be talked about and moralized upon until 
there should be no doubt as to the significance of the tale. 
The substance, unified purpose, harmonious tone of the 
story, measure its value; the structure does not. 

In one feature, however, Hawthorne's method of story- 
telling led the way towards the full development of the 
modem type. Why (to come at it Socratically), with 
an inherent proneness to construct a story badly, did this 
American write tales which, after all, are better made 
than those of any contemporary writer exclusive of Irving, 
Poe, Balzac, Merimee, Gautier, and possibly Poushkin? 
For, say your worst against the architectonics of The 
Twice-Told Tales, and then try to match them in England 
or in Germany of this period! The answer, again, is 
to be worked out through The American Note-Books. 
Scattered through them are those aforesaid notes for 
future stories, nearly all, and all of the best, not so much 
plots as situations, that is, not successions of incidents, 
but relationships of character to character, or of character 
to circumstances. "To have ice in one's blood.** "A 
phantom of the old royal governors,— on the night of 
the evacuation of Boston by the British.*' "The print 
in blood of a naked foot to be traced through the streets 
of a town." Clearly, Hawthorne, in these instances, had 
conceived a striking relationship in which some character 
was to be placed, a relationship, single and unified, which 
was to be the upshot of the story. Howe's Masquerade 
was made from the second of these items; there, Lord 
Howe's interesting situation is certainly the gist of the 
tale. Make a story of a situation, as Hawthorne did. 


In the majority of cases, it must be a short story to be 
effective; it must have unity of impression, and the final 
impression will be of the situation with which the writer 
began his thinking, for otherwise the tale will have 
missed its point. Furthermore, it must have harmony of 
tone, that requisite of the modem short story, for other- 
wise no subtle situation can be expressed. And thus, to 
answer the introductory question, certainly, in some de- 
gree, it was because Hawthorne chose situations to work 
up into stories that the completed narratives, in spite of 
all handicaps, attained a moderately good short-story form. 
But of such material as Hawthorne's situations, nearly 
all modern short stories are madel To express the 
myriads of situations in which we subjective modems find 
ourselves, and in which we are interested, the technique 
of the modem short story has its raison d'etre/ Thus, 
it is in his emphasis of a situation as a subject for a short 
narrative that Hawthorne's importance in the develop- 
mcnt of the modern short story chiefly lies. With Poc, 
one reached the technique able to convey an intense 
impression, sometimes of simple terror, or horror, some- 
times of a terrible or horrible situation. With Haw- 
thorne, the introspective, the analytical, comes a greater 
interest in the situation than in the impression to be made 
by means of it. Sometimes he fails to turn his situation 
into a plot-story, as, for example, in The Gray Champion; 
sometimes he half tells, half expounds it, as in Rappaccini's 
Daughter. But, nevertheless, it was his kind of work 
which widened the scope of the short story» which gave 
it play elsewhere than in tales of ratiocination and im- 
pressionistic terror. It was Hawthorne, far more truly 
than Poe, who first bent it toward a great usefulness, the 


uncovering of those brief, yet poignant, situations which 
interest us in modern life. The machine for turning his 
profound situations into story was a little crude, a little 
stiff in its workings, and sometimes refused to work at 
all, but he put in sound grain at the hopper, and he 
got good grist, even though only moderately well ground. 
Probably no one ever learned how best to tell a short 
story from his method, but many must have been taught 
that it was a situation, and not a chain of incidents, which 
the short story was best fitted to express. 

One must understand Hawthorne's introspective na- 
ture, and his attentiveness to the problems of humanity, 
in order to comprehend his short stories. Then, with an 
added knowledge of how hard it was to make intense 
thoughts real and communicable, and how much he desired 
to do so, it is easy to recognize both the defects and the 
excellencies of these twice-told tales. Such a sympathetic 
knowledge will take us further; the very nature of his 
meditations led him to seize upon striking situations, sit- 
uations which his attentive mind must have dwelt upon 
in solitude until the story shaped itself, dwelt upon, 
sometimes, until too much of the reflection hardened 
into moralizing and remained to clog the narrative. Here, 
indeed, in a Hawthomesque fashion, is a formula for 
Hawthorne, a formula which connects him with the 
historical development of our short story. 




THE short-story writers of the mid-ccntury, both 
American and English, were slow to grasp the 
opportunity given them by the prestige of Hawthorne and 
the technique of Poe. Americans seem to have liked 
Hawthorne because he preached, and Poe because he 
frightened, with a preference, on the whole, for the 
cruder manifestations of both, while England was cheer- 
fully oblivious of all American short stories except Irving's. 
In France, Poe met with a sympathetic translation from 
the hands of his spiritual kinsman, Charles Baudelaire, 
and was instantly hailed for those artistic subtleties of 
which, at first, we at home were only dimly appreciative. 
But nowhere in English-speaking countries were the 
literary value of the new short story and the practical 
possibilities of the new technique appreciated to the extent 
of intelligent imitation, or thoroughly successful adapta- 

Thus it happens that in order to record the literary 
energy which, at the turn of the mid-century, found its 
way through the channels of the short story, we must 
first engage with writers who had learned imperfectly, 
or not at all, the lesson that the American, Poe, could 



have taught them. Their worth in the absolute is to 
be reckoned from many qualities, and can in no sense 
be determined by the service, or lack of it, w^hich they 
rendered to the development of our short story. Yet, 
in regard to this development, it is true that the next 
waves of short story, in spite of the great names borne 
upon them» did not reach the high marks already upon 
the beach. 

Among the mid-century writers were some who carried 
on steadily, if with varying success, the newly established 
tradition of the American short story. These may be 
left for the next chapter. But the greatest names, and 
those associated with the short narratives best known 
to readers of the mid-century, were English. They are 
the names of great artists — in another field. These men 
and women possessed amongst them most of the qualities 
of narrative genius; their short tales often bear the 
marks of transcendent power oyer fiction ; and yet Dickens, 
Thackeray, Eliot, Trollope, Gaskell did not write what 
we, nowadays, call a short story. But the new technique 
and the new meaning for the phrase short story were 
both beginning to be current. Therefore, the exigencies 
of this study of the development of one kind of short 
story into another require that we should regard such 
tales not merely as so much good short narrative; we 
should also admit the possibility that some may be short 
stories manques, that is, stories which fail to employ the 
new technique for subjects which evidently needed it. 

Let us begin with Dickens, for it is he, among this 
group of mid-century English novelists, who achieved 
the greatest reputation as a maker of short narratives, 
his Christmas books yielding no whit in popularity to 


David Copperfield itself. Dickens saw life in the large; 
saw it by personalities, with a rich background of ex- 
perience, against which his characters move with the free- 
dom of life, guided down the avenue of the plot, but 
allowed to loiter freely by the way. For such a writer 
the short story, as it had developed by 1840, with its 
situation conceived subjectively, and its rapid movement 
to an impressionistic climax, was unnatural and imprac- 
ticable. He could have contrived the impressionistic 
effect with tales of horror or of mystery, and once did 
so, but he could not have wrought ** Dickens characters": 
Pickwicks, Tom Pinches, Nicholas Nicklebys, or Little 
Tims, into the kind of short story which one would 
submit in a short-story competition to-day; and without 
them, what is Dickens? He exhibited rare powers over 
plot, but it is seldom that structure, in the sense of 
nice proportioning and arrangement for definite ends, 
was a considerable factor in the success of his books. 
Mr. Chesterton would say that his novels are struc- 
turally perfect without structure, since they succeed! 
Nevertheless, if Martin Chuxxlewit be compared with 
Madame Bovary, the art which Dickens does not use 
will be evident. And this art of arrangement, emphasis, 
proportioning, so foreign, so artificial after the merry 
tumult of the whole London-full of characters which 
move carelessly down a Dickens novel is a prime essen- 
tial for the short story of situation. Artificial it is, 
but the only way to the goal. There had to be something 
French, something rather austerely artistic about the 
man who would cramp his pen with an elaborate tech- 
nique in those verbose days of the mid-century, when 
every one wrote as much as they could, and published 


a novel before the climax was written. Dickens cer- 
tainly would not have taken the trouble; probably was 
wise not to have done so; quite certainly would not have 
succeeded if he had tried! 

For it was not subjectivities, nor moralities, nor im- 
pressionisms that Dickens best saw, but personality, the 
dear externals, mannerisms full of pathetic or joyful 
significance, and all the richness of life. It is most 
doubtful whether the modern short story is the best, 
or even a good tool for this work. Bret Harte, as must 
be noted later, used it for similar purposes when he 
exploited the Argonauts of '49. But Harte confined 
himself to the sharp contrasts of a new world which, 
for all its sparkle, had few facets, and he sacrificed 
the multifariousness of life in order to lead his hero 
into a telling situation. Dickens would have no room in 
the modern short story; at least not room enoug}i to 
reveal personalities, in the Dickens fashion, by all the 
goose-eatings, fireside talks, dreams, dialogues, misunder- 
standings, and understandings which is the Dickens way 
of making you know things. For this writer's eye was 
on the world that the novelist sees, and thus, in his best 
short narratives, he wrote, as he should have done, not 
short stories in Foe's sense, or in Harte's, but novelettes. 

The short tales composed by Dickens are either too 
well known to need description, or forgotten too thor- 
oughly to excuse it. However, the comparatively few 
good ones will illustrate these general remarks. Sketches 
by Boz (1836), with which his career began, are short 
descriptive narratives, influenced, perhaps, by Miss Mit- 
ford's character studies in Our Village. Though they 
are not very lofty flights of genius, it is quite clear, 


neverthdess, that the youthful writer would have accom- 
plished no more with his characters of various neighbor- 
hoods if he had portrayed them by the methods in use 
by Poe and Hawthorne across the w^ter. As for the 
immortal Pickwick who followed, and who appears almost 
invariably as the hero of an anecdotal short narrative — 
more technique was certainly unnecessary for his de- 
lineation 1 

The Christmas books present a somewhat different 
problem. In spite of a rich flow of digressive narrative, 
and a picture of a complex life, they contain much 
technical machinery: the sequence of ghosts in A Christ- 
mas Carol (1843), successive peals of bells in The 
Chimes (1844), the disguise which allows of so sudden 
a misunderstanding in The Cricket on the Hearth ( 184s). 
Can these be set down as strivings after a unified im- 
pression, strugglings to emphasize the single episode or 
situation? Not in the least. What we call a short 
story was furthest from Dickens's thoughts. Before each 
of those Christmases, he was busy with materials suffi- 
cient for a long novel. Count the characters, as they 
say of the elephants in the circus parade — in A Christmas 
Carol for instance: — Scrooge, Bob, the nephew, Fezziwig 
and family, the Cratchits and Tiny Tim, not forgetting 
the goose— and all to be compressed into the limits of 
a Christmas story! Indeed, it was only external pressure 
which made the stories as short as they were. As the 
author says, in his introduction to the collected reprint, 
''The narrow space within which it was necessary to 
confine these Christmas stories when they were originally 
published, rendered their construction a matter of some 
difficulty, and almost necessitated what is peculiar in their 


machinery." In truth, he was writing short novels, and, 
though A Christmas Carol is one of the best tales ever 
composed, it and the others have no place (fortunately, 
for they might have been spoiled) in the development 
of the technique of the twentieth century short story. 

But there are many tales of Dickens, most of them, but 
not all, unread nowadays, which should or could have been 
put into the form of the new short story. For instance, 
Dr, Marigold (Dr. Marigold's Prescriptions, 1865), the 
touching story of a travelling peddler and his adopted, 
deaf-mute child, is unified by an idea. The '' cheap jack " 
is called doctor; when his foster-child is unhappy, he pre- 
scribes that which will give her happiness. Suppose that 
this unifying idea had been joined to a technique which 
would have given a quicker, more pointed development 
towards the sacrifice which is the climax of the story. 
Is it rash to conclude that better results might have fol- 
lowed? Chops the Dwarf (Dr. Marigold's Prescrip- 
tions, 1865), is another short story manque — not spoiled, 
as some one translated manque, but failing to attain the 
height of its possibilities; and there are others less worthy 
of our concern. 

Still other narratives are, by chance, as perfect as needs 
be. Dr. Manette's Manuscript (1859), inserted in J 
Tale of Two Cities, is an admirable example of simple 
narrative centering upon one incident, and highly unified 
by a careful limitation. That imaginative prose poem, 
J Child's Dream of a Star (1850), and the scarcely less 
imaginative Poor Relations Story (1852), are also 
structurally perfect short narratives. But all three are 
made perfect, not by the new devices of the nineteenth 
century; but the old one of a simple incident simply and 


directly told. The distinction is important, and illus- 
trates what can not be emphasized too often in these 
chapters, that our modern short story is only a new, in 
no sense a unique, device for writing short narratives 
that are worthy and complete. 

Paradoxically, in one story Charles Dickens departed 
from precedent, and, whether by imitation, experiment, or 
the unconscious foresight of genius, wrote a short story 
which employed the technique of Poe with ease and 
effectiveness. This strange tale, The Signal'Man 
(Mugby Junction, 1866), is constructed as beautifully as 
The Gold-Bug: the end is in sight from the opening para- 
graph when " Halloa! Below there 1 '' startles the signal- 
man with a premonition of death ; the climax leaves upon 
you the impression of mystery and pathos for which the 
story was begun. Once again, the story of horror and 
mystery constrains its author to contrive an impressionistic 
story. This tale, however, was one of Dickens's last, 
written when impressionistic short stories had become bet- 
ter known, and it should be read, not in the anthologies, 
where it has often been reprinted, but in an edition of 
his works, for only then does one realize, by contrast, how 
foreign to the methods of the free-and-easy writer is this 
single example of the new short story. 

Thackeray belongs with Dickens among those who have 
practised shortish narrative rather than the short story, 
and his relations to the development leading to our modem 
type are even more distant. He employed the brief tale 
for two purposes only, satire, particularly satiric burlesque, 
and the utilization of certain odds and ends of novelist's 
material. In Punch's Prize Novelists ( 1847), also called 


Novels by Eminent Hands, " potted fiction " was enriched 
by some of its most notable examples, but the purpose in 
even so excellent a tale as Phil Fogarty, the burlesque upon 
Lever, is alien to the interests of pure narrative. An out- 
and-out story like Dennis Haggarty's Wife ( 1843) comes 
into more direct rivalry with the short-story tellers, but 
this pathetic narrative is clearly too brief for the plot. It 
is a kind of scenario for such a novel as Vanity Fair. In 
this last-mentioned story, in Mr, and Mrs. Frank Berry 
(1842), and in several others, humor, pathos, wit, all of 
a quality inferior to the best in the novels, are there for 
the gleaning, but one finds no sheer excellence of character- 
ization and incident, like that which exalts the Christmas 
books of Dickens, and certainly nothing of that new 
structure and new interest which was to enable the story- 
teller to make his short tale something more than a by- 

One feels of Thackeray, however, that he could an 
he would. The man who constructed Esmond, who took 
pleasure in the subtleties of worldly minds, and was never 
content until he had gotten beneath the skin, would have 
easily mastered the short story of Henry James and Mrs. 
Wharton. Here is an instrument worthy of his powers, 
while the short tale, as he knew it, was useful to him only 
for very minor services. Probably he never read the 
stories of Poe; certainly he never apprehended the pos- 
sibilities of their technique. 

The third of the trilogy of great mid-century novelists 
who dabbled with short narrative is George Eliot. Her 
Scenes of Clerical Life (1858) are not novels. They are 
too brief for that title. Nor are they short stories, for 
they have the organism of the novel, if not its bulk. We 


may escape the embarrassment of writing anything briefly 
about work which, as fiction, deserves such careful criti- 
cism, by placing these stories frankly in the class of novel- 
ettes; for, in truth, such they were, and they contributed 
nothing, in form or method, to the new story-telling, how- 
ever promising they may have been for the coming psycho- 
logical novel. Of course the short story itself, in the 
hands of Henry James, was to delve into psychological 
analysis, but it was to be wielded in a fashion char- 
acteristically different from the method of these short 
novels of George Eliot. 

We must pause longer, however, for another woman 
novelist, Mrs. Gaskell, because, in comparison with George 
Eliot, she expended a far greater proportion of her liter- 
ary powers upon short narrative, and, furthermore, wrote 
one short tale that is in every sense notable. I use short 
tale deliberately, because the term short story must now 
begin to be reserved for that particular impressionistic 
study of a situation which is the nineteenth and twentieth 
century variety of the short-story family. In the broader 
sense of the phrase. Cousin Phillis (1863- 1864) is a genu- 
ine short story, for the gentle artist of Cranford has made 
the serene, yet tragic, Phillis emerge as the one sum and 
expression of the whole story. It is another instance of the 
wonderful totality which a perfect conception can give to 
a simple story, and a test case for the theory and practise 
of our contemporary editors, who will print only stories 
told according to the new mode. So much could readily 
be cut out of Cousin Phillis, so easy would it be to come 
at its pathetic conclusion by readier means! But would 
the tale be improved? Would it not lose as much in 


overtones as it could gain in force and direction ? A ques- 
tion to be asked — and discussed in a general fashion later. 
This exquisite narrative seems to have been forgotten, 
even by the thousands who still love Cranford. Perhaps 
it is because Cousin Phillis is too long for the short-story 
anthologies, which have kept in circulation so many mid- 
century tales, and too short for separate publication. 
Perhaps it was too much like the later short story to be 
acceptable to the next generation without being more like 
it still. Certainly its eclipse is undeserved. 

Nevertheless, elsewhere Mrs. Gaskell suffered for her 
ignorance of the guiding principle which had now been 
given to the short-story writer. In the two volumes of 
short narratives from her hands she makes no other un- 
qualified success. Some — such as The Doom of the Grif- 
fiths (1858), and The Grey fVoman (1861) — are melo- 
dramatic, with a touch of the annuals in them. Others, 
like The Crooked Branch (1859), are simple and vigor- 
ous, yet lack the flavor of matured work. But the ma- 
jority have the faults of the story, unskilfully shortened ; 
they are hurried, or unduly compressed. Indeed, Dickens, 
Thackeray, George Eliot, Mrs. Gaskell, TroUopc, for, 
without pausing to analyze his short tales we may put him 
also in this category, were all of them working with a 
story which, though sometimes efficient, did not often 
combine a high specific gravity with a single impression 
from a unified narrative. 

Dr. John Brown, the Edinburgh physician, and author 
of the Hora Subseciva, a strange miscellany of occa- 
sional writings, has no legal position among these mid<en- 
tury novelists who published short narratives, since he 


wrote no novels. Yet with them one must place him. For 
his point of view was theirs, while the ease of his touch, the 
episodic character of his one noteworthy short narrative, 
makes the relationship closer. Furthermore, it is quite 
impracticable to group him with those few contemporaries 
next to be considered, who were at work upon the legaq^ 
of Hawthorne and Foe — and impossible to leave him out 

He is remembered, and always will be remembered, for 
one story in which simple, unforced pathos gains a victory 
over more readers than have ever confessed. Rab and 
his Friends, first published as a pamphlet in 1858, and 
then included in the Hora Subseciva, is like the rarest 
of the seventeenth century lyrics, which well up surpris- 
ingly, sing through their perfect way, and leave delight 
and despair at their excellent simplicity. But the delight 
in this story is " myngit 2! wi' tears." Ailic with the 
" lonely " face, who begs pardon of the clinic if she has 
behaved ill during the fatal operation, James in his 
" stockin' soles," nursing her " as canny as pussy," and 
Rab licking all over the cold, dead hand — the Scotch doc- 
tor has compounded them with such feeling that it will 
be a cold reader who finishes without a catch in his throat. 
I will not profane the story by attempting to tell what 
thousands have read. Yet it is pardonable to ask the how 
and why of the power of this narrative flowering sin^e 
in perfection from the brain of a scientist. 

It will not please us to hear that Rab is not a ^ort 
story in the modern sense; that Dr. Brown did not com- 
prehend the structure which assures a unified impression; 
and that only a happy accident can explain this lonely, 
great success. Such, indeed, though near, is not the exact 
truth. For, better than Cousin Phillis of the last para- 


graphs, because more true in its telling, more perfect in 
unity, Rab serves as an instance of the noblest (and rarest) 
variety of short story, when the life-unit, complete in 
itself, vivid with natural brevity, and needing no more 
than the color and the shaping of high imagination to 
transform it into literature, is ready for the fortunate 
writer who has the power to see and use it. This perfect 
short story, like Ruth in the Bible, or Chaucer's tale of 
the little clergeoun, is not constructed ; it is imitated from 
an incident (in this case true actually as well as artisti- 
cally) which itself was in the form of a short story. 
Structural devices, such as Poe invented, are useful in 
ferreting out the more subtle situations which may lie all 
about us, and yet not be seen as a literary artist must see 
them before he can write his story. But, in an episode 
like this one, it is not necessary that they should be used. 
Dr. Brown's god in fiction was Scott. He knew nothing 
of the impressionistic short story, and, in order to write 
Rab and his Friends, it was not necessary that he should 
know anything of it. His art is of the highest, or the 
story could not be so simple. But this art is not the 
highly artificial constraint of the modern short story. 

In this generation of the pianola and the mechanical 
short story, when an elaborate technique has made it un- 
fashionable to be pathetic in a simple fashion, we need 
more tales like Rab and his Friends. Yet we can turn to 
only a handful of short narratives, among the multitude 
in this mid-century, which reached the perfection of Rab, 
and to no other excellent short story by Dr. Brown! We 
need such tales in this generation, but it is foolish to under- 
estimate the technique which enabled Stevenson, Kipling, 
and Maupassant to write their hundred short stories 


from situations whose like this mid-century did not, and 
probably could not, use. 

In this same decade, two more novel-writers, hitherto 
unmentioned, made contributions of a somewhat different 
character to famous short narrative. In 1856, Wilkie 
Collins published a collection of his stories, called After 
Dark, and, in 1859, appeared one of the best grim tales 
of the century, The House and the Brain (or The 
Haunted and the Haunters) by Bulwer Lytton. Wilkie 
Collins's book contains many good tales, on a rather higjb 
level of narrative interest, but with no particular distinc- 
tion, force, or beauty, a description which fits the better 
run of the short stories approved by the English reader of 
the period. But there is one story in G)llins's collection 
which stands apart from the rest, as possessing more organ- 
ism, more effect, a more nearly unified impression than 
the average tale of the period. In reading A Terribly 
Strange Bed, where a canopy, in the dead hours of the 
night, slowly descends upon the shuddering victim beneadi, 
one feels much of that concentration for effect which, in 
Poe's hands, became a technique for the short story. Col- 
lins did not know how to begin his story, he did not know 
how to end it, but he distributed his incidents with the 
most excellent care. 

The House and the Brain is a remarkable tour de 
force of pseudo-Gothic romance. In a prosaic London, 
and a house with hall-bedrooms and an area, a very matter- 
of-fact and most unsuperstitious gentleman passes a night 
whose horror is as thrilling now, when we are all tinctured 
with a belief in psychic phenomena, as it could have been 
in 1859. l^or this is no mere ghost story. The phenomena 
are all controlled ; they emanate from a single source, they 


suggest with clear and clearer emphasis a single, long- 
concealed story, they lead to a climax where this hidden 
story is revealed, and the mystery lifted from the realm 
of bodily terrors to the mind. The will, the only ghostly 
incubus left us in this age, is the hero of the tale ; a hidden 
will in action controls the narrative of this thrilling story, 
and gives to the whole a remarkable unity. 

It is interesting to see these two grim tales assuming, 
with ease, a form, direction, and organism not attempted 
by the majority of the stories of their time. For that they 
should do so is in strict accordance with the genesis of our 
short-story form. A need for inflicting horror or fear 
was, as has been sufficiently indicated, the first and most 
potent agent in the development of an efficient structure 
for short narrative. And it operated as strongly upon 
these Englishmen of the mid-century as it had wrought 
upon Poc some twenty years before. I have selected only 
two stories to illustrate this recurrence of short narrative 
whipped into form by the lash of a sensational purpose. 
The Signal-Man of Dickens belongs with them, and who 
cares to do so may add lesser examples from the magazines 
of the period, particularly Blackwood's. Authors had far 
less to learn in this field than in the narrative of every- 
day life, where no impulse urged them to make one im- 
pression the aim of their story. 

Two more mid-century novelists belong to the group in 
this chapter, if group may be applied to so loose an asso- 
ciation. The short narratives of Charles Reade and of 
Henry Kingsley are distinctly transitional, not so much 
in point of time, as in nature, between the stories hitherto 
considered in this chapter, and the short stories of the 
new type being written across the Atlantic. For Charles 


Reade we need not pause long, since his short tales exhibit 
only in a minor fashion the stirring incident and strong 
purpose of his novels. Yet, in the well-known Box Tun- 
nel, which The Athemeum called the best thing in 
Readiana (1882), and The Academy considered too 
vulgar to be reprinted, there is not only the capital effect of 
a single idea, in this case a stolen kiss, but also that relish 
for the novel situation which has become such a badge of 
our magazine story. Nor do Reade's many other short 
tales fail to suggest the manner of the short story, even 
when far from its method. 

But Henry Kingsley, obscured by his famous brother, 
and read, if at all nowadays, in his novels, is still more 
transitional and more interesting. Among his many stories 
is one, Our Brown Passenger (1871?), which is almost 
as new-fashioned as Plain Tales from the Hills. A ship, 
racing home from Australia, and flying through a blinding 
snowstorm, crashes into an iceberg. The crew desert, the 
captain is crippled; one sees the deck reeling, the end 
drawing near — ^when, " a voice from the quarter-deck 
. . . seemed to divide the dark night of death like a 
flame of fire." The mysterious brown passenger, who 
had been most skilfully introduced at the beginning of 
the story, takes command, order is restored, the ship 
reaches Valparaiso in safety; and there the unknown hero 
departs, leaving a note which begins, " Rear-Admiral Sir 
Charles Hatterton presents his compliments to the pas- 
sengers of the ship Typhoon ! " 

This, again, is the manner of our short story. To be 
more specific, it is close to the method of Rudyard Kipling. 
The breath of foreign parts which we love so dearly is in 
it, the striking personality, the unexpected event. The 


situation is grasped, too, and emphasized wonderfully. 
But Henry Kingsley hit the nail only once. There are 
other excellent stories over his name, but they lack form. 
They smack of the new school of impressionism, and feed 
fat on the contrasts of life in new countries oversea, but 
they need the distinction which comes from being done in 
just the right fashion. The idyllic sometimes can get 
along without this distinction, the sensational short story 

All the narratives of this chapter, it is to be observed 
again, are waves which never come up to the water-mark 
of Poe, and often turn vainly at a level far below it. 
Sometimes, a wave is no less beautiful because it perfects 
itself with no record-making eiiort. But it must be clear 
that in this group of loose tales, exquisite tales, and short 
stories mangues, the short story gained little or nothing 
in power. Its usefulness as a tool of expression was but 
little increased as compared with the first quarter of the 
century; respondent to many of the great currents of liter- 
ary feeling which swept England between Scott's day and 
the seventies, it opened distinct and fluent channeb to 



THE last chapter was English in the racial sense of 
the word, and dealt with a group of short narratives 
whose value, as in the case of Dickens's Christmas stories, 
was sometimes very great, while their significance for the 
development of a new kind of short story was almost nega- 
tive. Power there was plenty of, even in these by-products 
of the novelists ; development towards any new control of 
the matter of life was by no means so evident. But if we 
turn back again to the early mid-century, and to America, 
where the new short story began its career, these twenty- 
odd years make a better showing. There is no greater 
number of famous short narratives, but there are more 
stories which show a conscious grasp of the methods and 
materials which were to make short narrative widely ex- 
cellent and widely useful. 

It may seem strange that mid-century America, with its 
inferior supply of literary genius, its crudity, its slavish- 
ness, should have led the way. Yet there were excellent 
reasons. One of them, perhaps, may be found in the 
dangerous, but by no means negligible, theory of Pro- 
fessor Baldwin, as expressed in his American Short Stories, 
to wit, that the Americans, with the French, are " the two 
nations that have in our time shown keenest consciousness 
of form in fiction." To this must be added that the 



periodical occupied a foremost place in this country as an 
agent of literary production. For the American book still 
lacked prestige at home in the mid-century, while the 
American magazine, thanks to the advantages of timeliness 
and local interest, was not so handicapped; and, even in 
those days of the serial, it encouraged the production of 
short stories. Last, and by far the most important, was 
the influence of Poe and Hawthorne, the former upon tech- 
nical perfection, the latter towards dignity and worth in 
short narrative. By 1850, Poe had passed, but left a 
great name behind him among Americans, though not 
among Englishmen. In 1850 appeared The Great Stone 
Face, in 1851 Ethan Brand, both in periodicals. The 
mid-century writer of short stories in America had to feel 
the rivalry and the stimulus of these masters in short nar- 
rative. So far, it is evident from their work that the 
English did not. 

But the general level of the short stories current here 
was by no means instantly elevated to the height of the 
masters. There were, perhaps, more trivial stories written 
in America in the fifties and sixties than in England, and 
only a few that were better constructed. Yet there 
was steady progress. The advance, as usual, was by mile- 
stones, and, in this instance, three present themselves for 
reckoning, conveniently marking the progress made. 
O'Brien is the first, a man of those times only, whose bril- 
liant career was nipped in its beginning by death in our 
Civil War; another was Edward Everett Hale, whose 
just finished work attained to what may prove its most 
lasting triumph in the early sixties; the third was Bret 
Harte, the first writer to gain recognition in England 
for our short story. 


Fitz- James O'Brien was a brilliant Irishman, who 
migrated to this country about 1852, at which time he 
was not more than twenty-five years of age. He became a 
journalist, a free-lance, whose most regular connection 
was with Harper s Magazine and Harpers Weekly, al- 
though he contributed to most of the better-known periodi- 
cals of the day. Like Poe, he was poet and critic as well 
as story-writer. Like Poe, too, his life was Bohemian, 
nor does the resemblance end here, for O'Brien dealt by 
preference with the gruesome and macabre. 

He wrote numerous stories, in this fecundity anticipat- 
ing the later short-story writers, perhaps because, like 
them, he was armed with the right technique for the 
purpose. The memorial volume by William Winter, 
The Poems and Stories of Fitz-James O'Brien, in which 
alone his work is easily accessible, contains but a selection, 
but i^et enough to form a fair estimate of quality. Some 
are love stories; others tales of remarkable or horrible 
incident ; but the best and the most characteristic are nar- 
ratives in which the supernatural is employed in an in- 
genious fashion to gain the effect desired. What Was Itf 
(1859), The Diamond Lens (1858), and The Wonder- 
smith ( 1859), are the striking examples of this craft. 

Although O'Brien's stories are contemporary with the 
tales of Mrs. Gaskell, they have a modem ring to them; 
except for a touch now and then of mid-century senti- 
ment, they are scarcely old-fashioned. If we seek for the 
reason, we shall find it not so much in any external trait of 
style as in the skilful adaptiveness of the author. All his 
stories are somewhat suggestive of earlier masters. There 
is Dickens clearly in Milly Dove; Hawthorne in the same 
story; Lamb or De Quincey in The Dragon Fang; but 


reminiscences of the new-fashioned Poe lurk in every one. 
O'Brien was the first author to imitate successfully in 
English the methods of Poe. Viewed in its external as- 
pects, this memory of his predecessor appears in such 
idiosyncrasies of tale-telling as the use of an abnormal 
hero who lives in an abnormal abode and is most irregu- 
lar in his habits. Both authors, to be sure, were fair 
models for their own heroes, but Poe, possibly with 
Byron's aid, began the practice. Far more weighty, how- 
ever, is another debt owed by O'Brien to the tales of the 
grotesque, a debt for structure. In spite of wayside 
palaverings, the best of his stories aim, in every part, 
straight to the end. The first paragraph implies the last. 
The mystery ends in a climax as vivid as it is impugnable. 
JVhat Was Itf h an account of an invisible man-monster 
who grapples with an opium-smoker in a New York 
boarding-house, and is caught. Poe might have been glad 
to conceive it. The Diamond Lens, through which a 
somewhat diluted Poe hero sees adorable Animula disport- 
ing in a drop of water, then loves her, and goes mad 
when, as the drop evaporates, his beloved dies literally 
beneath his eye — this story Poe would have approved, 
would have built up far better, and probably spoiled by 
an attempt at humor. As it stands, O'Brien is daring 
and original in the conception ; the machinery which makes 
a story possible is all from Poe. In brief, O'Brien did 
what no one else in English had done before, really 
learned the Poe technique. If he was a little too slavish 
in his use of it, yet his ideas were sufficiently original to 
strike a balance, and the result is this, that his stories are 
still readable where less dependent tales have lost their 


But we have done scant justice to one of our pioneers io 
the short story if we leave him here. He died young; his 
best stories were written before he was much over thirty; 
their imitativeness might have been a prelude to an 
achievement like Bret Harte's, the exploitation of such 
characters as Dickens saw, by the new short-story method. 
As it is, although so fond of the macabre, O'Brien studies 
life as the novelists of his day were studying it, even when 
he looks through the glasses of Poe. Consider the pathetic 
love-affair of the cripple and the gypsy's daughter in The 
Wondersmith, the homely familiarity of the Twenty- 
sixth Street boarding-house in which the invisible monster 
is found, the definite New York which is the setting for 
so many of his stories. This is the manner, not of Poe's 
fancies, hot from the romantic movement, but of our 
own imaginings. O'Brien, it is true, succeeded only when 
he worked up his local color and his contemporary por- 
traits under the stress of a sensationally grim plot, which 
fused all into one definite impression. But at least, in 
some measure, he was applying the impressionistic story, 
hitherto used consciously only in pursuit of the terror of 
the soul, to reasonably familiar life. Of The Diamond 
Lens and The fVondersmith, Mr. Winter says, " They 
electrified magazine literature, and they set up a model of 
excellence which, in this department, has made it better 
than it ever had been, in this country, before those tales 
were printed." Now Poe's technique had certainly been 
more original and more perfect, and Hawthorne's stories 
more fully charged with matter and with meaning. 
Surely, electrification could only have come from the ex- 
ample of a new story-telling used in tales which, for all 
their extravagance, had more of the common clay of life 


than was to be found in earlier examples of the impression- 
istic short story. 

O'Brien's imagination might have carried him far, and 
did place him unquestionably among the ranks of remark- 
able narrators. The idea of The Diamond Lens is at 
least unique; the invisible man-monster of IFhat Was Itf 
is one of those conceptions which insure a story; but the 
plot of The Wondersmith is still more indicative of power. 
Mannikin toys are inspired by evil souls and empowered 
to flesh their tiny swords in the children who loved them. 
The imagination which conceived and moved this tale 
without absurdity did much, even in this very unequal nar- 
rative. There is nothing else quite like The Wondersmith 
in American literature. Hood might have done it, had 
he known how to tell a good short story; Hawthorne 
might have hit upon the fancy, and made the tale far more 
serious, more gloomy, more sententious, but scarcely so 
pleasing; neither could have blended so much life, imagina- 
tion, extravagance in one reasonably coherent whole, and 
contrived to leave a very definite impression of the heart 
of the story. O'Brien, with all his journalistic carelessness, 
accomplished just that because, in his amateur fashion, 
he really understood Poe's technique for the short story. 

It is difficult to tell how popular to-day are stories well 
known in the mid-century, but surely Edward Everett 
Hale's The Man Without a Country (1863) is in 
no danger of being forgotten. There are few tales 
charged with stronger p&triotism than breathes from 
this narrative of a man who '' loved his country as 
no other man has loved her; but no man deserved less at 
her hands." Not many poems called forth by the inten- 


sides of our war period so well embody the strong loyalty 
engendered by the struggle. And there are few narratives 
at whose last line we can say with stronger conviction, 
Here is a great story. Philip Nolan, lieutenant in the 
United States Army, " expreissed with an oath the wish 
that he might 'never hear of the United States again/ 
The Court sentenced him to have his wish fulfilled." 
This is the plot, and it is worked out with all the ingenu- 
ity of a clever story-teller, and all the passion of an ardent 
patriot. There are splendid climaxes : where poor Nolan, 
on shipboard, an exile from even the name of home, 
reads aloud, by unhappy accident, ** Breathes there the 
man, with soul so dead " ; or when the Kroomen of the 
captured slave ship beg through his agonized translation, 
" Take us home, take us to our own country." And yet 
this story has received scant notice at the hands of his- 
torians and critics of the only literature in which Ameri- 
cans can claim distinct originality, that of the short story. 
The copy on my desk has been taken out from the Yale 
Library once in five weeks, on an average, for the four 
years it has been there. Perhaps no other American author 
before Bret Harte, barring Poe, Hawthorne, and Irving, 
can claim such a record for a single narrative. And yet 
one seldom hears of The Man Without a Country as a 
remarkable short story! 

The reason for this neglect is that this tale lacks the 
perfect structure and the new technique which was to 
make unity of impression easy, and good short stories 
abundant. The emphasis is not reserved for the end ; there 
is much that is irrelevant, unplaced, digressive in the 
narrative; the first paragraph is by no means conscious of 
the last. Why then successful? Why then not merely 


a good narrative, but a good short story, with an impres- 
sion left upon the mind which is single and intensely 
vivid? Undoubtedly Mr. Hale was forcible because he 
felt every word he wrote — but that does not explain why, 
with so little attempt at structure, he made such an ex- 
cellent short story. The truth is that he succeeded be- 
cause he hit upon that other device for making a short 
story effective; he gripped firmly, not a plot, but a most 
striking situation — suppose a man, for treason, to be kept 
ignorant of home and country — ^and made his story to 
center upon that from first word to end. This is equiva- 
lent, in its result, to structural emphasis, for the impres- 
sion has to be a unified one. And it seems to account for 
the effectiveness of Mr. Hale's easily running story. 

This choice of a situation as the nucleus for a story had 
been adopted some twenty years before by Hawthorne, 
with very di£Eerent material and for a very different pur- 
pose. Inevitably, whether through imitation, or by a 
natural experimenting with means available for a desired 
end, it was bound to be continued in the later develop- 
ment. But Mr. Hale was the first, after Hawthorne, to 
apply the principle for really great results, and, further- 
more, he points the way, in his stories, towards the use of 
situations, not moral-philosophical, like Hawthorne's, but 
simply interesting as are those chosen by Henry James or 
Maupassant. The Man IVithout a Country is, therefore, 
a true milestone. It was an artistic success because of its 
very vivid impression of a soul's tragedy. The impression 
made is so vivid because the story which conveys it is not 
too long for one idea, and one only, to fill it. It was pos- 
sible to make it short, with a man's life for subject, be- 
cause, not the plot of PhiUp Nolan's tragedy, but the 


poignancy of his situation was the aim of the narrative. 
Of the two new ways of making a story short and im- 
pressive, structural emphasis and the choice of a situation 
as subject, here is the first good example, after Haw- 
thorne, of the latter, and perhaps the very first in whidi 
the hero is normal and the story unmoralized. Nowadays 
these two methods go hand in hand, the technique of Poe 
making it easy to work out one's situation ; but, with every 
modem improvement added, we get few short stories as 
powerful as Mr. Hale's unstudied account of the imique 
predicament of Lieutenant Philip Nolan. 

Bret Harte was certainly not the author of the best 
English stories of the nineteenth century, but it is a ques- 
tion whether, on the whole, his tales have not been the 
most widely read. Hawthorne never has been widely 
read in his short stories, except as the cumulative processes 
of time and the agencies of school-English have piled up 
the numbers of his readers. Poe's following in America 
has always been a large one, but in England, until re- 
cently, his success has been, at most, one of esteem. Bret 
Harte, however, was, and is, pretty generally known by all 
the reading classes, and very nearly as widely on one side 
of the water as the other. Thus, if we regard those years 
when the new short story was just getting a foothold, he 
appears as an advance agent of a fiction of American life 
for Englishmen, as well as of California habits for the 
Easterner, with an audience evenly distributed through 
much of the English-speaking world. 

The circumstances of his sudden rise into popularity are 
well known. The Luck of Roaring Camp, published in 
the new Overland Monthly for August, 1868, by a re- 


luctant staff, who feared that the tale was highly immoral, 
brought instant recognition from the East, and a more 
tardy one from his own people at home. The Outcasts 
of Poker Flat, and other tales, speedily following, gained 
more plaudits; reputation sought the prophet out even in 
his own country, and in 1871 he had achieved not only 
fame there but a call to the East. This success, which 
became English almost as speedily, was, in the main, a 
success by means of the short story, and so remains to-day. 
A share of it was due to such permanencies of genius as 
lead to imaginative observation, another to the material 
which California offered him, a part, and a large one, to 
the form in which this material was cast in the stories that 
he made from it. It is this last cause which is involved 
with the development of the short story. 

So clearly distinguishable was the new kind of short 
story after Bret Harte had used it to advertise his Forty- 
niners, so little recognized as a type before, that it was 
natural for certain writers to refer to the Californian as 
the inventor of this form of narrative. How little this 
statement is true we know ; yet how great were his services 
may be read between the lines in a response to his flatter- 
ers which he himself provided in The Cornhill Magazine 
of July, 1899. The Rise of the Short Story in that num- 
ber is honest disclaimer. Not to me, writes, in effect, the 
romancer of Sandy Bar, but to conditions as I found 
and grasped them is credit due: Poe, Hawthorne, Long- 
fellow (the Longfellow of The Tales of a Wayside Inn)^ 
wrote good short stories, so his argument runs, but their 
tales were not characteristic of American habits, life, and 
thought. Their work " knew little of American geog- 
raphy," and, all said, it was provincial. The war was the 


national mixing-pot, thus he continues, East learned West 
there, and North South, but, except for Hale in his Man 
Without a Country, the writers did not seize their op- 
portunities. And then, in California, where life was as 
distinctly individud as the current fiction was unreal or 
European in its depiction of humanity, he felt the need of 
a sympathetic, truthful picture, took his chance, and wrote 
The Luck of Roaring Camp. Life, in that story, said 
Harte, was treated as it was, with sympathy for its 
methods, with a welcome for its peculiarities, with no 
moral, and no more elimination than was artisticdly neces- 
sary. In a word, when the Americans broke away from 
European models, and began to give free expression to 
the thoughts and feelings of their native land, the result 
was — not what one expects him to write, original American 
fiction, but — ^the short story. 

There are some things evidently dubitable in this state- 
ment, but a great deal that is true ; and from the apologia 
is to be gleaned far more than the common statement that 
Harte developed American local color and with it floated a 
native short story. It is superficial to say that Poe and 
Hawthorne were un-American and provincial. But Harte 
was speaking in the language of his own practice, and must 
be interpreted before critically condemned. Presumably 
he meant that his predecessors were provincial because 
they did not write of the West, and un-American because 
they neglected the more external signs and marks of 
Americanism. Yet the unsound in this article is trivial 
when compared with the explanation of Bret Harte's suc- 
cess and his services to the short story which it provides. 
For, with tRe assistance of the clew which he gives us, 
we can account for the extent of his triumph, and fbl- 


low the rise of one of the commonest varieties of our 
short story. 

Bret Harte's technique, like O'Brien's, is, roughly, Poe's. 
The volume published at Boston in 1870, The Luck 
of Roaring Camp, and other Sketches, includes what are 
probably the three very best stories he wrote. The Luck, 
The Outcasts of Poker Flat, and Tennessee's Partner. 
Strangely enough, they are called ''sketches," in contra- 
distinction to the " stories," which, beside Mliss, embrace 
two very inferior narratives. Each of these three early 
masterpieces begins with the matter in hand, moves quickly 
to its conclusion, and emphasizes the climax by direction 
of narrative, by proportion, and by selection of incident. 
Each has unity of tone, and perfect unity of impression. 
Indeed, there is no better example of this last than Ten- 
nessee's Partner. Whether Bret Harte learned this 
technique from Poe, or from the exigencies of journalism, 
is comparatively unimportant. He had to learn it, as 
the earlier Mliss, which, for all its pathos, suffers for lack 
of good telling, and other early narratives show. 

Now this fashion of arranging one's materials was par- 
ticularly well adapted to bring out contrasts in life, singu- 
lar associations, vivid situations. The earlier American 
story-tellers, each in his way, negatively or positively, had 
demonstrated that. But it was just such contrasts, associa- 
tions, and situations in real life that the young Harte was 
ambitious to turn into literature. No distinctly Cali- 
fornian story had been written on the coast. The Over- 
land Monthly wanted one. California life: the romance 
of the Argonauts, the revelry, chivalry, pocket-finding, 
shooting, love, hate, and sudden friendship of Roaring 
Gulch and Sandy Bar, it was all chiaroscuro, it was rapid, 


it had little past, and an unseen future, it was compounded 
of the strangest contrasts. The settled orders of the old 
world had broken rank and flung themselves in social con- 
fusion upon the gold-fields, and the society that resulted 
was like that of the farce-comedy, kaleidoscopic, capable 
of anything, a society in which a remarkable situation 
could instantly develop and give place as quickly to an- 
other. The novel as a beaker for so turbulent a mixture 
would never have succeeded ; the life was too new, confus- 
ing, transient. The old and simple tale might have swept 
up certain episodes, but it would have lost the glitter, the 
brilliance, the vivid transitoriness of the unicxpected situ- 
ation. But the new short story, with its emphasis upon 
the climax, and that climax the heart of a situation, was 
the very means. Read these fine stories, compare them 
with the " local color " sketches of Bret Harte's con- 
temporaries, and one sees why, to use his own language, 
he " turned the trick." 

In this fortunate application of a method of telling to 
a life which only so could best be told, Bret Harte ad- 
vanced upon Mr. Hale's first stories, where the grasp of a 
strong situation, rather than any way of emphasizing it, 
attracts attention; advanced upon O'Brien, whose skill 
was scarcely equal to his imagination, and became a pioneer 
by virtue of the new realms he conquered for the short 
story. But it is impossible to sum up his achievement with- 
out more consideration of the content of these short stories. 
It was the fresh life depicted in them which his contempo- 
raries hailed, and although it is probable that if his Cali- 
fornia novelties had not been exhibited in just the proper 
show-case, to wit, the short story, they would have gained 
a hearing that at most was contemporary, yet it is errone^ 


bus to suppose that his triumph, like Poe's, was a triumph 
of technique. Tennessee's Partner, John Oakhurst, Yuba 
Bill, Kentuck are as long-lived, seemingly, as any char- 
acters in nineteenth century fiction. Mliss would join 
them if Harte could have given her an equally good 
narrative; the New England schoolmarm in the Sierras 
must be added, although she appears under too many names 
to be individual. What gives these characters their last- 
ing power? Why does that highly melodramatic tragedy 
in the hills above Poker Flat, with its stagy reformations, 
and contrasts of black sinner and white innocent, hold 
you spell-bound at the thirtieth as at the first reading? 
Why does Tennessee's partner make you wish to grasp 
him by the hand? Bret Harte believed, apparently, that 
it was his realism which did it. He had put the Western 
miner into literature as he was — Whence the applause. He 
had compounded his characters of good and evil as in life, 
thus approximating the truth, and avoiding the error of 
the cartoon, in which the dissolute miner was so dissolute 
that it was said, '* They've just put the keerds on that chap 
from the start." But we do not wait to be told by Cali- 
fomians, who still remember the red-shirt period, that 
Roaring Camp is not realism. The lack of it is apparent 
in every paragraph describing that fascinating settlement. 
The man who would look for Yuba Bill at Sandy Bar, 
would search for Pickwick in London, and Peggotty on 
Yarmouth Beach. Not the realism, but the idealization, 
of this life of the Argonauts was the prize Bret Harte 
gained. After all, the latter part of the introduction to 
his first book was more pertinent than the first, which I 
have just been paraphrasing, for, at the end, he admits a 
desire to revive the poetry of a heroic era, and to collect 


the material for an Iliad of the intrepid Argonauts of 

In this attempt, Harte sought out novel characters, and 
then idealized the typical and the individual which he 
found in them. So doing, he sat at the feet of a greater 
writer, one not more fortimate in materials, but far 
stronger, more versatile, more poignant in grasp. The 
debt which Bret Harte owed and acknowledged to Dickens 
has been often remarked upon, yet in no way can the value 
of these pictures of the gold-fields be better estimated than 
by emphasizing it again. What Dickens did in England, 
the ever-living personalities which he created by imagining 
English cockneys, English villains, English boys, with all 
their energies devoted to an expression of what was most 
individual, peculiar, and typical in them, just this Bret 
Harte endeavored to accomplish with his Califomians. 
The truth by exaggeration was his art also. And the melo- 
drama which accompanies contrasts more violent than life, 
the falsity which follows an attempt to make events il- 
lustrate a preconceived theory of human nature, were his 
faults as well. He looked upon the strange life about him 
with the eye of an incurable romancer, and gave us a Poker 
Flat which is just as false to the actual original in the 
Sierras, as it is true sentimentally. In this, his error, if 
you are foolish enough to cdl it so, was again the error 
of Dickens. But Mr. Pickwick is more valuable than 
any actual gentleman of his period, Kentuck will outlive 
the John Smiths of the California historical society. The 
sentimental romancer, when he is not banal, nor absurd, 
is an inestimable boon to the race he describes. He in- 
spirits with the emotions which live for ever the body of 
contemporary verisimilitude: clothing, manners, speech, 


morals, which, without a soul, must die with their genera- 
tion. Dickens did this for his London, and Harte, in his 
footsteps, performed a like service for the golden days of 

It would be pedantical and wearisome to prove by 
analysis the likeness in methods between master and pupil, 
for all readers of both must feel it. Harte confessed his 
obligation by constant praise of the older writer. Dickens 
recognized it; went so far as to find in Roaring Camp and 
Poker Flat, so Forster says, " such subtle strokes of char- 
acter as he had not anywhere else in late years dis- 
covered; the manner resembling himself, but the matter 
fresh to a degree that had surprised him." The best proof 
of the connection lies in comparison, for, as the Middle 
English proverb has it, " Trundle the apple never so far, 
he comes from what tree he came." I do not mean, how- 
ever, to insist too much upon this influence. In such a 
criticism as this, Dickens is to be regarded, not as an au- 
thor, but as a point of view; and there is divergence in 
plenty between the two writers. Age could not wither nor 
custom stale the infinite variety of the Englishman. But 
if Harte's mine never ceased yielding, the rich pocket was 
soon exhausted, and the vein he followed beyond produced 
ore that was seldom of a bonanza quality. In his innumer- 
able later narratives the same character types appear with 
wearisome frequency. The virginal dew is dried from 
the cheeks of his untamed women ; the Argonaut no longer 
glovirs with the colors of a dawning civilization. And 
although his biographer, T. Edgar Pemberton, strenu- 
ously asserts that the stories in other fields prove that he 
was not graveled for matter when he left California, 
still Vnser Karl, The Desborough Connections, and his 


other old-world tales are no more than good magazine 
work. The classic aura is not upon them. For the situa- 
tion must be very hovel, very fresh, very significant of those 
human traits which can be seen in the lightning flash, 
" which doth cease to be ere one can say ' It lightens,' " 
else this kind of short story loses its place in great litera- 
ture. In the narrowness of his genius which could not add 
new provinces when the old ones were exhausted, Hartc 
was inferior to his master. He was far inferior in humor, 
far inferior in the breadth as well as the length of his 
creative powers. In pathos alone does he even approach 
an equal level. 

On the other hand, it is exceedingly improbable that 
Dickens could have immortalized the Forty-niner. The 
short story was the only tool that was capable of such 
magic. Sandy Bar was no novelist's spoil; its life was 
too rapid. Nor would ** sketches," like those by ** Boz," 
have caught the day of the Argonauts; if one missed 
its vivid contrasts, one missed more than half. The new 
short story was the tool, and Dickens, it is quite certain, 
could never have restrained himself to its limits. In 
spite of his one experiment, The Signal-Man, the feat 
was against nature. But Harte, of a race keen to sec 
the significance of events, quick of perception beyond 
comparison among Anglo-Saxon peoples, inclined to be 
superficial, inclined to hurry, inclined to be pleased with 
a novelty and to advertise it ; Harte, with the view-point of 
Dickens, his own sense of form, and a genius for sym- 
pathetic study, was the man to turn into five talents the 
sum he had been lent. 

And so, at the end, one is inclined to agree with Harte's 
own conclusion, as expressed in his Cornhill essay. He 


was certainly wise in coming to his own world for 
characters, for plot, and for setting. And one agrees, 
also, that to this step toward truth of portraiture is due 
much of the strength of the modern short story. But 
we must add to these statements. It was the use of the 
new short story technique that made Harte's shift to 
local subjects so fruitful in result; it was the high color, 
the novelty, the rich contrasts of California life, which 
put upon his success an emphasis that advertised the 
short story. It was his good fortune to look upon this 
variegated life with eyes which Dickens had opened to 
see personality, with senses by this insight made keen 
to feel the old primeval emotions stirring in unexpected 
places, with a resultant power to make poetry of that 
from which the realist made prose. In every way Bret 
Harte was a fortunate man. 

Finally, he completes that development towards a pop- 
ular form for the short story which, after the passing 
of Poe and of Hawthorne, O'Brien had begun. While 
the novel life of California was peculiarly get-at-able 
by means of the short-story technique, novel situa- 
tions, unusual contrasts, strange contradictions every- 
where could be exploited by the same method. Harte's 
stories raised a crop of " wild life ** tales after them, 
but they were also followed by an equally flourishing 
growth of narratives in which the striking situations pro- 
vided by the most civilized life were written into some 
kind of literature. In the decade after his first success, 
the short-story form became a usual, not the extraordinary 
tool. And as the peculiarly geographical development 
of our civilization, and the general shifting of social 
standards and social orders, which marks the end of the 


nineteenth century, proceeded, more and more fields were 
opened up for its use. So, after all, Harte was ligfat; 
it was the treatment of life, as it was here in America, 
which began the vogue of the short story. 




THIS IS the place and this the time to discuss finally 
the technique of the narratives which nowadays 
we name by the phrase short story. After Bret Harte 
made his success, the type, if not exhaustively developed, 
was well established, and favorably recognized in America, 
in England, and in France. Furthermore, such new 
potentialities of achievement as were possible by means 
of it had been already comprehended with a thoroughness 
which could only lead to abundant use, and the accom- 
plishments of the later years of the nineteenth century, 
and the first of the new one, were not of that revolutionary 
character which justifies a minute and tedious investigation 
of form. They are better reckoned by di£Eerent methods 
of analysis, the more so since it is dangerous, when the 
artist is working with methods very well understood 
by himself and his readers, to waste upon processes which 
have become obvious that attention which should be given 
to his purpose and the result. So this, and no later, is the 
moment for a recapitulation. 

Most of the ammunition, in the discussion of the short 
story which has continued now for some twenty-five 
years, has been expended not so much upon the technical 
3tmctur^ ^s upon th^ ^complishment of this new narra- 



tive form, and its nature as thereby determined. Among 
the numerous American critics — I say American, for, 
with a few exceptions, the attitude of the English critic 
has seldom been au serieux — Professor Charles Sears 
Baldwin has made, to be sure, important contributions to 
our knowledge of the structure of the short story. But 
critical subtlety has so far been chiefly busied with the 
di£Eerence between short story and merely short story 
and with all which would serve to define what Poe and his 
successors had given us. Nor have unnecessary com- 
plications been wanting in a not very simple matter, for 
each succeeding writer has tried to make his definition 
a new one. 

In reviewing definitions, let us adopt a pragmatic 
plagiarism. Professor Brander Matthews, harking back 
to Poe's often quoted distinctions, began the whole dis- 
cussion with his essay on The Philosophy of the Short- 
story, first printed, in its entirety, in 1885. He defined 
the short story by its effect, a certain unity of impression 
which set it apart from other kinds of fiction, and he 
was the first, after Poe, to attempt an explanation of what 
our short-story writers had been accomplishing, the first 
to recognize that they had accomplished something new. 
Spurred on by an invaluable distinction, which made us 
see, as we had long felt, that fiction was upon a new 
trail, the present writer endeavored to press onward into 
the matter, urging that a conscious impressionism, a 
deliberate attempt to convey a single impression of a 
mood, or emotion, or situation, to the reader, was a dis- 
tinguishing characteristic, and that this, and not a chain 
of incidents, was the consequent sum total of the short 
story. Since that time, many able critics have entered 


the arena, and dthough the new short story has received 
no final definition, most of those interested in literary 
types and their qualities have recognized and commented 
upon its special features. 

Now the short story of all the centuries, the short 
story in general, as discussed in the earlier chapters of 
this book, is not sharply marked off from other forms. 
In the fourteenth century, it is sometimes hard to separate 
from the romance; in the seventeenth, it runs to the novel ; 
in the eighteenth, it blends with the sketch of manners 
and of character. True, in all the great literatures there 
were those groups of narratives whose subject-matter re- 
quired that they should be short, narrative varieties which, 
to look at them externally, were recognized forms, ready 
for any writer who had short narratives to tell. Their 
changing rounds in the history of English literature may 
await recapitulation in a final chapter. But the afore- 
mentioned critics have had under discussion chiefly that 
variety of short story just pow most popular: the variety 
which has been given the type-name, short story, some- 
what as we in the United States have been called 
American; and to its nature and purpose their definitions 
have especial reference. The reason for this was ex- 
cellent. Our short story is sharply marked off from 
other forms. To be sure, it reveals itself as merely a 
special case and particular development of the endless 
succession of distinctively short narratives which, since 
the world began, have dealt with those life-units that were 
simple, brief, and complete in their brevity. But it di£Eers 
from them in degree, if not in kind. This special case 
can show an infinitely higher measure of unity in narrative, 
of totality in petto, than had ever been sought consciously 


before. It is a particular development which came b^ 
cause, in our nineteenth century, there were situations, 
emotions, thoughts, pressing for expression in narrative, 
which could not get themselves expressed so well in any 
simpler fashion. The high and gloomy imagination of 
The House of Usher, the poignant terror of The Masque 
of the Red Death, the snapping humor of Margery Daw, 
the vivid humor-pathos of The Luck of Roaring Camp, 
the infinitely subtle, infinitely moving passion of They, 
could never have been otherwise given into words. As 
well have made caryatids of Mino da Fiesole's low reliefs, 
or frescoes of the Memling virgins on the shrine at 
Bruges, as express by any other method these various 
stories! This higher unity was sought first by a mind 
full of sharp and terrible impressions needing brief and 
vivid narrative — that was Foe. It was continued by a 
century full of changing social orders, colonization with 
its contrasts, a civilization rapidly altering its superficies, 
a peculiar growth everywhere of introspection, analysis, 
love for the unobvious in manners and in life. Indeed, 
it was demanded by the characteristics of a period which 
supplied innumerable situations — significant nodes, as 
it were, where our attention clung — situations requir- 
ing swift, brief, and vivid narrative. And thus, while 
the new short story was only a modification of the old 
short story, at its best there was just the distinction 
that exists between the chronometer and the watch, the 
chemist's balance and the grocer's scales. It was a variety 
constructed for difficult and unusual services. 

Thus a real necessity lay behind the change which 
gave us a short story that was ponderable and yet brief. 
The means by which this change came about I have 


already discussed at length in the chapter upon Foe. It 
was that shift of emphasis to the climax which inevitably 
followed upon a conscious impressionistic purpose. Once 
the climax and the climax alone was in the author's 
foremost thoughts, reproportioning, and a subordinating 
of all the elements of the story to its desired result 
followed automatically, and produced the highly charac- 
teristic opening, and most familiar end. The minutiae 
of the process it is in the province of the rhetoricians to 
describe. But what is the climax? Sometimes, the inci- 
dent towards which all the episodes led, which collected, 
like a brass globe, all the electric charge of emotion, 
thought, or vivid impression to be drawn from the story. 
Sometimes, and much oftenest, the situation, which had 
been the root and first perception of the tale, and now, 
in this climax, was most sharply revealed. But among 
those short stories which differ most thoroughly from 
ordinary short narrative, or from the novel with its 
different view-point, a single impression, a vivid realiza- 
tion for the reader of that which moved the author to 
write, be it incident, be it emotion, be it situation, this 
is the conscious purpose of the story, and this is the climax. 
And thus the art of the short story becomes as much 
an art of tone as of incident. Sometimes one feels that 
the tone is more important, that in certain stories of 
Maupassant's, like La Peur, in Stevenson's Markheim, or 
Kipling's Without Benefit of Clergy, any mere arrange- 
ment of incident is trivial when compared with the 
supreme skill by which all that kindles the fancy, arouses 
or tranquilizes the passions, has been controlled from the 
outset, and swayed until the work of the writer is 
harmonized into one tone, as if narrative were painting, 


and the artist a Rembrandt at work with fluent oik! 
And then one recalls that such excellence has come only 
because, in order to do so much with so short a space 
of narrative, a most exacting art is necessary, and that, 
after all, this perfection of tone is required and is orig- 
inated by the desire to emphasize the climax. 

Thus, like Fhcebus Apollo, the new short story relies 
upon the arrow it looses straight for the heart or the 
head, and this arrow, this impression, carries the sum 
total of the energy of the narrative. Does " an im- 
pression " seem a vague and bookish phrase? If so, 
consider a modern instance, the situation of a cultivated 
sceptic and rationalist who feels himself falling victim 
to the splendid beauty of the Roman ritual and the 
austere assurance of the Roman creed. Try to make 
a story of that situation — it is reasonably typical of 
modern short-story material — ^and, fail or succeed, you 
will understand sympathetically the task of the modem 
short-story teller. 

Finally, a needful qualification. This discussion of 
the typical short story of our century in no sense can 
be used to cover all current short narrative. Beside 
the consciously impressionistic tales are to be found sur- 
vivals of earlier types, and innumerable stories which are 
scarcely typical enough for exact classification. But one 
can roughly group them all. First, then, we shall still 
be given new instances of those old, simple short narra- 
tives which have a totality of their own, and, at the best, 
a good unity of impression, yet are far, and rightly far, 
from any conscious attempt to convey one effect, and 
only one, for sum total. As long as there are suitable 
plots, there will be such tales. Thank Heaven, there 


are still some men who know how, and care, to write 
them! Again, comes a second class, this time more 
nearly related to our impressionistic short story. It is 
here that one finds all those good tales of lively plot, 
wonderful happenings, humorous turns, where to search 
for an impressionistic effect would be absurd; and yet 
in them is to be discerned that structural shift of em- 
phasis which came in with the impressionistic short story. 
Here is to be placed the average magazine story, when 
it does not belong to the incompetents. Their stories, 
and the number is already vast, boldly present a sufficient 
plot, but do ndl quite attain. Here are the short stories 
manques of our own period, stories which ought to have 
shot direct to the mark, but wavered and fell short 
in the flight. Here are the stories of situations whose 
full significance the writer dimly saw, and conveys more 
dimly still. And, finally, the short story as it has been 
fully realized for our time; not absolutely better than 
the best of simple short narratives, but far better for 
its own purposes; a literary type which shares some of 
the exaltation of all the difficult arts, which is incom- 
parably the most successful form of short narrative for 
us, perhaps the most successful variety of contemporary 
fiction. And this is true because its fashion of telling 
does so much with the short-story form, does so much 
with those especial life-units of which the present genera- 
tion has been most ready to read and most eager to write. 




THE use of Bret Harte to separate two literary 
periods is more convenient than inevitable. Harte 
was the great advertiser of the short story, and accom- 
plished with it certain remarkable things, but only in a 
restricted sense did he begin a new era. The years of 
which we have now to write, the two score in which 
the American short story has grown from an infant 
industry to a national avocation, do not date from The 
Luck of Roaring Camp, But the several well-marked 
kinds of stories most popular with us first became readily 
distinguishable in the decade in which that tale was 
written, or in the years just succeeding. Bret Harte is 
the figure which closes the struggle to popularize the 
new short story in America. He is only one of the 
progenitors of our current short-story fiction. 

These forty years in short narrative have closely paral- 
leled the trade in Oriental rugs. In one respect, the 
short-story market differs from Constantinople. Modern 
Ghiordez, Kirmanshah, Tabriz worthy the names are not 
procurable except in the conceit of the sanguine collector, 
while as good short stories as ever were written are 
always to be found somewhere in the bales of stock goods. 
But, in both instances, an enormous demand has caused 




an enormous production. If we are to lift a candle of 
criticism through the multitudinous assemblage of story 
which has gathered in books, in newspapers, and in 
magazines, we must adopt some classification. As it 
happens, the first chapter may be devoted to Americans 
exclusively, for it is some time before any Englishman 
comprehends the meaning which Americans had already 
put upon " short story,'' and writes accordingly. Again, 
for convenience, and because, in spite of all combinations 
and cross-breeds, the distinction is roughly apparent, one 
may divide these American stories of the last third of 
the century into three groups, with broad margins for 
strays. Let us say the story of serious situation; the 
story of surprising and humorous situation, with an un- 
expected flip at the end to drive home the point; and 
the story of local color. Henry James is the master of 
the first ; Aldrich was our best representative of the second ; 
Harte was much more than a local colorist — so Cable 
will serve as a point of departure for the third. The 
story of local color has been the vein most easily and 
most frequently worked. The tale with a flip at the end 
has given us our cleverest and perhaps our best liked 
narratives. But it is from the practice of the narrative 
of serious situation that our great short stories have come. 

Mr. James, in the course of his annotations upon the 
new edition of his works, remarks that it was a relief 
to escape from the frail craft of the short story, where he 
ever felt the danger of running aground. With apologies, 
if there is to be any running aground in Mr. James's 
short stories, it is the reader and not Mr. James who 
is in danger. Never in the ages of fiction has narrative 

3Q8 the short story in ENGLISH 

been conducted over uncharted seas with more consum- 
mate skill than in the tales now to be discussed. 

Indeed, frail is the last word that a layman would 
apply to the short stories of Henry James. Even in 
those Stories Revived (1885), collected from magazines 
of the sixties and early seventies, there is a singular 
robustness about this writer's work. He grasps his situa- 
tion without fumbling, and with an uncommon grip. He 
never lets go of it in the course of the tale, and he never 
fails to make it the point of his story. Since Hawthorne, 
no one has so strongly felt and made us feel the challenge 
of a good situation. Hawthorne falters 'sometimes, but 
Mr. James makes no such error. His art is conscious. 
He knows that he has — not a great moral truth, but 
a, situation, and one can confidently coimt upon delivery, 
be the pages never so numerous. 

In these latter days, Mr. James has pushed the study 
of a situation so far that sometimes the short story will 
no longer contain the results. He has been forced to 
use the novel, not always successfully, but his relative 
failure here only emphasizes the unique character of his 
special talent. Incomparably subtle and complex are the 
analyses of Mr. James's recent novels, and the situations 
with which they concern themselves are no less so. The 
very difficulty of these narratives is proof of a depth of 
insight as well as of a complexity of style. But if the 
long stories are too difficult, the short stories, although 
dealing with situations equally complex,^ are seldom too 
intricate for pleasurable perusal. Opinions differ as to 
the readability of The Wings of the Dove. They are 
at one for The Turn of the Screw, or The Real Thing. 
And yet the first of these short stories contains a situation 


as subtle as man ever thought of, the second, one so 
superficial as to be hard to grasp at all. In both, how- 
ever, Mr. James confined himself to the limitations of 
a single effect. And his craft in a true sense was frail, 
for he had to make this effect in order to succeed. He 
did make it, and wonderfully, with a style full of nuts, 
all crackable by good teeth, and a development which, 
for all its intricacies, brings one face to face with the 
whole story at the end. His success, in contrast with 
the obscurity of his later novels, not only proves the 
value of the impressionistic short story for the depiction 
of intricate situations. It is also an instance of Mr. 
James's capability to advance this new variety of narra- 
tive in a most interesting direction. 

It will be necessary to turn to the stories themselves 
for the appUcation of these general remarks, but we must 
delay for another of this author's distinguishing char- 

To suppose that the short story cannot be excellent 
realism, advanced realism if you please, is absurd, as 
the Russians and the French, if no others, have proven. 
Yet, before the sixties, almost no good short stories in 
English were markedly realistic. Foe compounded his 
out of romanticism. Hawthorne struggled for realism, 
but did not get it, because it was not realism that he most 
wanted. O'Brien, who gripped at situations, chose sensa- 
tional ones, and Harte avoided the uncolored life. The 
truth is that your short story can be given specific gravity 
more easily by a moral, by a philosophic idea, a terror, 
a blot of local color, by anything rather than the more 
or less literal transcription of life which we call realism. 
And this is true — unless you are dealing with situations. 


Then the problem is different. It is hard to give a short 
story its requisite point in an account of wash-day at the 
public laundries, or in a week from the life of a negro 
schoolboy. But one can work out an interesting situa- 
tion with a stern avoidance of sensation, and yet with 

Mr. James was perhaps the first writer in English 
to accomplish this now universal feat. Hawthorne wrote 
upon situations, and might have carried the short story 
into realism. But he was a transcendentalist, and his 
struggles to fit the idea with external reality too often 
resulted only in a cold symbolism. If Emerson had 
written fiction, the result would probably have been the 
same. Henry James, however, is to be interpreted in 
terms of his brother, the experimental psychologist. He 
works from without in, and has the inestimable advantage 
of knowing life before his interpretation of it. His 
realism, to be sure, is not the realism of the familiar, 
like that of Mr. Howells: It is more selective, and even 
appears unreal to those who do not know his monde. 
It is still less the gutter-sweeping realism of Maupassant. 
But it deals, and dealt from the first, with a life which, 
if not common, is certainly unvarnished. At its simplest, 
one gets a study of every-day life on a liner; at its 
furthest from the simple, there is the horror of The Turn ' 
of the Screw, where supematuralism, divested of all its 
romantic trappings, is surrounded by an atmosphere 
abnormally intellectual, but thoroughly real. Emerson, 
the philosopher, thus far has exceeded James, the psychol- 
ogist, in moral intensity; and in force and beauty Haw- 
thorne outtops Henry James. But it was the latter who 
first put realism into an impressionistic short story. 


Mr. James's career as a short-story teller began before 
Bret Harte's, and is still happily flourishing. Yet, in 
spite of the repeated assertions that the later James has 
become a new man, an identity of resemblance in all 
essential details unites the first stories with the last. 
Let us take for illustration well-marked and well-known 
narratives, not exceptions from, but intensifications of, 
this author's usual practices; let us select from the work 
of a lifetime A Passionate Pilgrim (1871), The Madonna 
of the Future (i873)> The Real Thing (1893), The 
Turn of the Screw (1898), and a story or two from 
the volume of 1901. 

The passionate pilgrim was an American, sick of the 
newness of his country. But this American not only 
was probable heir to an estate and a name in England, 
also, by some strange freak of atavism, there were re- 
produced in him the needs and attributes of an English 
lord of the manor. A passionate pilgrim, infatuated with 
the life of the English gentleman, he visits the house that 
might be his, he pines for the environment that should 
be his, and falls in love with a woman who symbolizes 
his desire. Ten thousand Americans have felt faintly 
what he felt passionately, but it needed Mr. James and 
this short story to crystallize the situation. It was some 
thirty years later when Kipling duplicated the perform- 
ance with An Habitation Enforced. 

The Madonna of the Future has another of those 
situations which, once grasped, make sure a wonderful 
story. Theobald is an American painter, who launches 
in Florence his cargo of new world optimism. It is not 
too late, he thinks, to paint a great Madonna. But she 
must be perfect! And so he drifts through the Florence 


galleries and the Florence salons until the opening of 
the story, his chosen model growing old and corrupt 
without his seeing, himself growing old and incapable, 
and his ideal flowering and perfecting beyond all his 
power of execution. The story is of disillusionment 
The Madonna — is of the future. There is no surprise, 
no sudden climax. When the canvas in the meager studio 
is seen at last, and seen to be bare, the discovery is the 
last stone in an arch. The situation emerges as the sin^c 
impression of the whole story. 

The Real Thing every one knows. It is a far less 
serious attempt, but no less characteristic. The real 
thing is represented by Major and Mrs. Monarch, English 
gentlefolk who have lost all but their inability to be 
anything but the real thing. The plot required is light 
Its point is in its climax, where, with all pathos, the 
helpless, noble pair ask " to do '' for the artist who 
tells their story, and for the vulgar models who can 
imitate aristocracy to better purpose than the real thing 
can present it. A situation not delicate, not even subtle, 
but tremendously diflicult to get into action, and hence 
the credit due to this narrative. 

The Turn of the Screw is the most interesting short 
story Mr. James has ever written. I say short story, 
using the word in its contemporary sense, because, though 
running to 213 pages in large print, it is as completely 
unified in its impression as a conte by Maupassant. The 
story itself is better described by the phrases of vague 
horror with which its narrator introduces it than by 
any analysis, and this difficulty of concise description 
beautifully indicates the depths to which we have gone 
with our short story. Two children, angel-children out- 


wardly, have been corrupted by a gpvemess and an 
infamous groom. Both corrupters are dead, but their 
influences, nay, their presences, continue in mysterious, 
disgusting communication with their eager victims. And 
to fight these influences is but one will, the new governess, 
the actor and teller of the tale. No superstitious glamor 
enters, no romantic grimness. There is just a conflict 
of wills with a sick disgust let in where Foe would have 
given us horror. And all is controlled by no single 
emotion, but rather by an intellectual desire to grasp 
the situation and to see it in horrid clearness. Once 
this is done, once the children have confessed, the story 
ends abruptly. A single example of such narrative is 
enough — ^but it is a satisfaction that it has been accom- 
plished so perfectly. Is it any wonder, with a mind busy 
over such formulas, that when Mr. James drew up his 
anchor, and sailed forth on the unrestricted seas of the 
novel, even the most vigorous were sometimes buffeted 
back as they followed him! 

Finally, compare the latest stories, such tales as The 
Great Good Place, whose kernel, heaven knows, is sufii- 
ciently enshelled, with those that went before. It is 
the same art, and often the same triumph. A possible 
but difficult situation is flooded with a daylight which 
ranges, according to the success, from murky to sun-clear. 

G)nclusions are evident. With Mr. James and his 
short story, English fiction pushed into fields hitherto 
unoccupied, if, indeed, existing. The subtler relations 
and interrelations of possible life, the just graspable situ- 
ations developing in especial circumstances in this life, all 
the nuances encountered daily by people of developed 
sensibilities in our civilization — these he taught us to put 


into stories. In the seventies no such work had been done 
by Engh'shmen, except in poetry, or with the novel, a 
tool that could not carve minutely. Nowadays, his suc- 
cessors at the task, on both sides of the water, are legion. 
None so poor as not to take a hand at psychological 
analysis, but in his own field no one equals the master. 
Mrs. Wharton is the best of his followers. Yet even 
her tales lack the force, the clear perception, the last 
cunning which marks the work of this pioneer. 

Faults, of course, are to be found. We are by no 
means prepared to exalt Mr. James to the place of arch 
story-teller. His monde is too restricted. It is a demi- 
monde, to twist the phrase. It is a world of beings 
measured from the brain up. Only the intellectual enter 
these stories, except as foils, and a certain quality, called 
in its vulgar manifestations '* heart interest," is usually 
lacking. Again, even in his short stories, Mr. James 
is unduly diffuse in his pursuit of the intricacies of a 
situation, and therefore unduly elliptical and obscure. 
Neither of these objections should weigh heavily. The 
first is a definition, not a condemnation. Who criticises 
Sargent for not painting like Sir Joshua Reynolds? The 
second is a heavier charge. To be sure the fault is a 
defect of Mr. James's virtues. He is less guilty than 
Browning and scarcely more chargeable than Meredith. 
His experiments in psychology are carried to such ad- 
vanced stages that we must admire the skill that makes 
them reasonably intelligible, even when he fails to reduce 
his inquiry to the x, y, z of plain language. Yet it is 
just that feat which ought to be accomplished. James 
fails sometimes; fails oftenest, it seems,' when he cuts 
loose from the short story. But when the bugbear Mr. 


James has crumbled, we will better appreciate the real 
author. He has rendered an inestimable service, not 
merely to those his brother might call the tough in 
intellect, but also to every one who dimly sees that life 
is very complex, and wishes to know a little more of 
its subtleties. 

The next variety of short story came to its prime a 
little later, but flourished and flourishes far more abund- 
antly. It is the kind which comes nearest to being anec- 
dotal; the story of light and surprising situation whose 
point is revealed by a twist of the plot at the very end. 

In his essay on the short story, Bret Harte remarked 
that the amusing anecdote was a characteristic American 
product. The fact is notorious. But, as he also ob- 
served, the mid-century, when the American yarn became 
famous, made small literary capital from it. There was, 
of course, Mark Twain's triumph. The Jumping Frog 
of Calaveras County, and there were such narratives 
as Hale's My Double and How He Undid Me, but 
very seldom before the seventies did American " good 
stories" of the novella type get form and permanency 
in literature I 

To say that from this Yankee yam were bred the later 
short stories which depend for their success upon an 
amusing situation suddenly revealed by a surprising twist 
at the end, is to say a good deal. Nevertheless, this 
familiar variety, as it appears in our magazines, is cer- 
tainly a product of much the same sense of the incongruous. 
There is form in these short stories, something never 
possessed by the yam. That is because they are short 
stories, not yams — but the anecdotal character remains. 


Thomas Bailey Aldrich's Marjorie Daw (1873), a 
story as delightful as its name, is an example. Marjorie 
Daw is a practical joke, on the hero and on the reader. 
But the flavor is not all in the discomfiture of the hero; 
nor in the bouleversement at the end, for we are not even 
told of that scene. It is most to be found in what the 
American enjoys, the humor of an absurd situation, the 
humor of incongruity. The hero had been taken in, 
and was suddenly discovered in a delightful absurdity. 

In American fiction of this period, Aldrich, Frank R. 
Stockton, and H. C. Bunner are the masters of this short 
story. Mr. Aldrich was a stylist who infused his per- 
sonality into tales of trivialities and made them inexpres- 
sibly delightful. If Marjorie Daw was his best effort, 
there are many others scarcely inferior. One does not 
think of structure, for the thing is done too easily and 
too gracefully. Humor and pathos come without forcing. 
The story flows as whimsy dictates, and never fails of 
its point, nor blurs the outlines of the situation. Aldrich 
was the first American to duplicate successfully the French 
conte. Perhaps he caught the graceful manner from 
Daudet's Let ires de mon Moulin; for, certainly, his 
stories arc very French. But they are French only in 
form. Any American humorist for these hundred yean 
would have written Marjorie Daw and relished the 
writing if he had known how to expand the situation 
into a real story. No Englishman did such work. No 
Englishman does yet I 

Mr. Stockton was professional amuser to very many 
generations of children. His yams ran to the quaint; 
griffins were his specialty, and wonderful fairy-book hap- 
penings that were hiunorous, too, in the most unprece- 



dented fashion. I mention him here because, all through 
the eighties, his work was so popular in America, and 
so very characteristic of the American short story. Every 
tale, for big or little people, has a twist at the end of it. 
And the biggest twist, what might be called the typical 
specimen of flips, came at the end of The Lady, or the 
Tiger f (1882), a story that probably supplied as much 
dinner conversation as any other of the century. Stock- 
ton is more whimsical than Aldrich; he is less polished. 
He is more German than French, if I may be allowed 
these terms without implying an imitation by either. But 
the American humor and the short-story form are always 
in evidence. 

H. C. Bunner died young; and while he lived was 
continuously a newspaper man. Save for these accidents, 
he might have been our best fabricator of the anecdotal 
story. His genius is reincarnated, some think, in our 
own O. Henry, who is certainly guilty of the one fault 
to be charged against his predecessor. Bunner was abso- 
lute master of the very short story with a very striking 
conclusion. There is, one sees, even a short-short story I 
Here, no writer in English, but only Maupassant, ex- 
ceeded him. In subject, he was thoroughly American. 
The himiorous attracted him. He could make a good 
story from a misapprehension in respect to the sex of a 
dog. Aldrich struck no deeper than he did, and lacked 
the rare power of perfect focus, combined with perfect 
restraint, by which Bunner, like Maupassant, could make 
six pages tell a story as complete as Vanity Fair. But 
Aldrich possessed what the rhetoricians call elegance — 
not grace alone, nor lightness of touch alone, nor dignity 
alone, but all. Bunner's Short Sixes (1891), his Love 


in Old C loathes ( 1896) contain some of the best American 
short stories. They lack only a perfect style. 

This anecdotal art, as exemplified in these few selec- 
tions, is very distinctively American, and, next to Amer- 
ican, French. It is worth analyzing because it is ex- 
hibited nowhere more perfectly than in the short story, 
and because, by means of our short stories, it has been 
partly responsible for the English conception of the 
American people. True, it has produced much trivial 
literature, just as the American habit of ** swapping 
yams " has been responsible for terrible boredom. But, 
in either case, even when a poor thing, the custom is our 
own. I do not know what proportion of magazine stories 
nowadays are flat because the writer thinks he must be 
surprisingly humorous at the end. Yet, better a thousand 
miscarriages than that we should miss a single Jumping 
Frog of Calaveras County, or discourage another Marjorie 

To call the third group of short narratives in this 
period local-color stories is a little deceptive, for among 
the short stories usually so named are many palpably 
anecdotal, and more where a serious situation makes its 
impression upon the reader. Yet, merely for a con- 
venient division, the name will serve. By a local-color 
story we mean more than a narrative whose setting is 
distinctly of one locality, for this would apply to the 
Italian stories of the Elizabethans, the periodical narra- 
tives of London in the eighteenth century, or Ha^vthome's 
New England tales. We mean, rather, a story where 
the setting is quite as important as the plot; a story to 
which a strong factitious interest is lent by the local 


peculiarities of place and action, and by the racial peculi- 
arities of the actors. To say when such narratives began 
is to court disaster. Not so uncertain is the time when 
they became most popular with English and American 
readers, to wit, the latter part of the nineteenth century. 

It is not hard to understand why local color has played 
such a part in the short story of this period. The 
technique invented by Poe is thoroughly adapted to catch 
and record the superficies of life, and particularly idio- 
syncrasies of habit, and distinctive qualities of scene. 
Furthermore, since brevity is essential for good descrip- 
tion, the much in little of the nineteenth century short 
story provides the easiest of means for getting observa- 
tion into readable form. Again, the rising popularity 
of the short story has been paralleled quite exactly by 
the growth of interest in special peoples and places. 

Bret Harte did not begin the short story of local color, 
but he assuredly made the first great popular success 
which was due in any large part to a vivid description 
of a given locality. The story of local color, as we 
read it commonly to-day, is usually less virile and more 
pictorial than his. It more closely resembles a narrative 
t3rpe of which the tales in George W. Cable's Old Creole 
Days (1879-83) were, perhaps, the earliest successful 
examples. Mr. Cable's strong point is not the short 
story, nor any story structurally considered. Regard his 
work as a series of sketches and then its value comes out. 
Plots are only conveniences for him, ways upon which 
his sympathetic knowledge of the Creoles may be launched 
into the world of books. The best thing he ever wrote 
b not a novel, nor a short story, but Chapters x. and xi. in 
his pastoral, Grande Pointe, which treat of the spelling- 


bee of schoolmaster Bonaventure. Yet the idea of die 
short story was of some value to him. It was a situation 
which he usually worked with, and he rounded off his 
tale with the climactic twist which either reveals the 
secret of the plot, or settles the narrative with some other 
definite conclusion. Simple situations were his ware, 
and usually those which would flow from the peculiarities 
of his own Southern people. The horror of an admixture 
of white blood and black is a basis for many ; the contrast 
between Creole and Yankee serves for even more. 

It is the descriptive element, however, which is most 
valuable in Cable's works: such local color as arises 
from the unforgettable characterizations of Mme. Del- 
phine, of Jean-ah Poquelin, of 'Tite Poulette ; the pictures 
of a semi-tropical life ; and the atmosphere of a vanishing 
civilization. Next in value is the tender sentiment proper 
to, and worthy of, such descriptions. Abstract this and 
the local color from the stories and what have you left? 
Not the types of universal human nature which remain 
when California drops from Harte's stories, or the Dutch 
Hudson from Irving's. Indeed, there is nothing highly 
valuable in these tales but local color and sentiment 
The operation, fortunately, is unnecessary. Yet the 
theoretical result is instructive, for it defines, in some 
degree, this variety of the contemporary short story. 
Rightly or wrongly, our writers have been inclined to 
make local color the cargo as well as the ballast of their 

It would be too much to say that Cable established the 
school. He marks, however, the approximate beginning 
of a long and notable series of stories, by which every 
nook and comer sheltering a picturesque civilization has 


been exploited. Has it been worth while? Immensely 
so. Is it the highest form of short story? Certainly 
not. The Elizabethans sacrificed their short story to 
Euphuism, making of a good plot a hollow absurdity. 
Some of our collections of rare dialects may one day 
seem as empty. But it is not necessary to judge by 
exaggerations. If the service rendered to art by the 
local color story has not always been of the highest, the 
service to curiosity, and the broadening of human sym- 
pathies, has been immense. And, furthermore, some of 
the noblest tales in the language have sprung from studies 
of racial peculiarities, where the artist, in pursuit of traits 
and customs, has ended by laying bare universal human 
nature. Such narratives have been written only when 
the story and not the setting has been preeminent — 
but the best are to be found after, not before, the great 
local color enthusiasm of the latter nineteenth century. 



THE last third of the century saw the new short 
story thoroughly established in America, its scope 
marvelously broadened, its popularity steadily increasing, 
and the general level of technical excellence rising almost 
as fast. In a previous chapter I have discussed mid- 
century short narrative in England, and endeavored to 
do justice to the excellent novelettes of Dickens, the 
exquisite brief tales of Mrs. Gaskell and Dr. Brown, 
the almost impressionistic stories of Henry Kingsley. 
These writers added their {Ipund or their mite to English 
literature. But not until 1877, ^^^ Robert Louis Steven- 
son's first published narrative, does any Englishman of 
real caliber show both desire and ability to do something 
new with the short story. 

This narrative was A Lodging for the Night, pub- 
lished in Temple Bar for October, and followed by 
fFill 0* the Mill in The Comhill Magazine for January, 
1878, and The Sire de Maletroit's Door in Temple Bar 
for the same month. A Lodging for the Night is as 
clearly and consciously an impressionistic short story as 
George Meredith's contemporary novelettes are not of 
that category; the two stories which followed would 



assure the most timid critic of our generation that here 
was a master in this department of fiction. 

It is strange that the English discovery of the im- 
pressionistic short story should have come so late. Per- 
haps there is something antipathetic to the British tempera- 
ment in so restrained and so graceful an art. The Amer- 
ican masters, even Poe, have been very American, the 
French excessively French. But the chief tellers of the 
short story in England all betray a foreign tincture. Kip- 
ling is a colonial, G)nrad a Slav, Maurice Hewlett 
Italianate. And Stevenson was a Francophile from his 
youth up. The French affiliations of Stevenson it is 
unnecessary, at this late date, to prove. It is not so 
easy, however, to determine the effect of his interest in 
things French, for the results are blended with the Scotch 
and the English in the man, and with that which was 
neither Scotch nor English, but just himself. Regarded 
as an artist in narrative, he is probably indebted to France, 
and his admirations there, for the influence which made 
him cope, and cope successfully, with the artistic prob- 
lems presented by the short story. This influence is 
not so gross as to be reckoned in terms of a specific source. 
It is to be traced through his artistic conscience and still 
more through his conception of what should be done in 
the telling of a story. For example, the best French 
literature leaves a sense of perfect finish, and a complete 
satisfaction with the way the thing has been done, irre- 
spective of what that thing may be. Call it a result 
of the Latin sense of form, call it French grace, call it 
what you will, at least it is easily recognizable. Some- 
thing of this perfection of expression, and as much of 
this French grace, appears in every story, long and short, 


of Stevenson's. Indeed, in the short stories it even de- 
termines the mode of the narrative. The French counsel 
of perfection demanded the perfect form, and this, for 
the short narratives of his contemporaries in France, was 
the impressionistic short story, in which the French for 
some decades had been successful, though, hitherto, with- 
out marked influence upon English work. Naturally it 
became the perfect form for Stevenson. 

With these circumstances in mind, read, for an ex- 
ample, that bijou. The Sire de Mdetroifs Door — ^**a 
true novel, in the old sense; all unities preserved more- 
over, if that's anything," so Stevenson wrote of it in a 
letter to Sidney Colvin, August, 1877. The setting 
is good medieval French; that, however, is not to the 
point. The plot is romance of the English rather than 
the French brand. But the exquisite nicety of incident, 
moving step by step, from the swing of the door which 
traps the hero, to the cruel uncle who condemns, the 
maiden who scorns, who weeps, who melts just as the 
night turns into dawn — this quality of perfect balance 
is French. It is hard to describe otherwise in words. 

Yet, if in his taste and in his counsels of perfection 
Stevenson is French, in the subject-matter of his short 
stories he is Anglo-Saxon. His thoughts on life are not 
French thoughts. His themes remind one of Hawthorne, 
not of Maupassant. There is The Strange Case of Dr. 
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, that short story thrown over into 
the form of a detective romance. What Frenchman would 
have concluded the narrative, not with the throes of a 
final transformation, but with the last moralizing of 
Jekyll upon Hyde! I do not say that Stevenson's climax 
is inferior; merely that it is, typically, an English one. 


Or there is Markheim, a story less powerful in execution, 
but more excellent in workmanship, and an almost ideal 
example of the impressionistic short story. Flaubert might 
have written the description of the curiosity shop as the 
murderer saw it, with its accusing dock-voices, its waver- 
ing shadows, from the inner door '' a long slit of daylight 
like a pointing finger." And Flaubert would have praised 
the skilful gradation of incident and description, whereby 
conscience gains and gains in the struggle for Markheim's 
mind. But Hawthorne would have been prouder still 
of the plot — a weak man with a remnant of high ideals 
suddenly realizing that his curve is plotted and can lead 
him only downwards. And how un-French is the en- 
trance of that mysterious visitor who comes in as the 
devil and retires revealed as a kind of Puritan Almighty, 
tempting in order that the soul may be tried and repent! 
How like to Hawthorne's usual way is Stevenson's de- 
termination to make, at all costs, a moral issue the outcome 
of his story! Indeed, this lover of the French touch is 
thoroughly Anglo-Saxon in his choice of situations for 
his stories. 

Nor is this conclusion restricted to Stevenson's ex- 
periments in man's moral nature. fFill 0' the Mill is 
like a twice-told tale not only in theme; its whole 
effect is Hawthornesque. A Lodging for the Night has 
for its kernel a question of ethics. Even The Sire de 
Maletroit*s Door, The Merry Men, and Providence and 
a Guitar, are concerned with honor, with unselfishness, or 
with the result of crime! 

I have compared Hawthorne with Stevenson as the 
writer in English most readily typifying the racial tendency 
towards moral analysis in narrative. Of the two, Steven- 

326 ' ;he short story in English 

son is the better craftsman. He makes his setting real; 
he makes his characters act, and be influenced, and change, 
with greater verisimilitude, beauty, and ease. His pen 
was more flexible. French authors had taught him to 
be more tireless in the search for perfect expression. But 
his superior craftsmanship is, perhaps, due quite as much 
to a lack of intensity as to a keener pursuit of art. His 
ideas are more novel, less fundamental than Hawthorne's. 
It must have been easier to put them into concrete form. 

This is possibly a deficiency, certainly not a fault. But 
Stevenson's counsel of perfect expression did lead him astray. 
He did not overpolish. That is impossible. But he made 
his polishing too evident. The ''brutal and licentious 
public, snouting in Mudie's wash-trough," persisted in 
thinking, so he said, " that striking situations, or good 
dialogue, are got by studying life; they will not rise 
to understand that they are prepared by deliberate artifice 
and set off by painful suppressions.'* Alas, it was un- 
necessary to inform even the snouters that deliberate 
artifice was being practised in his own works. The thing 
is palpable in every phrase where the words arc the 
dernier cri in specificncss, and in each rhythm tuned to 
a superperfect harmony. Yet, though palpable, this arti- 
fice is not unpleasant. On the contrary, at his best, the 
exquisite Euphuism which this supreme polisher could 
produce is sheer delight. No story in the world reads 
better aloud than The Sire de Maletroifs Door, no 
phrasing in contemporary prose thrills the car more 
entrancingly than certain passages in Will o* the Mill and 
Prince Otto. But is it not — Euphuism? And, if it is 
Euphuism, will it not suffer with a change of taste? 

Suppose this to be true. Suppose these flowered sen- 


tences, graceful rhythms, vivid words, should eventually 
mar the excellency of the stories which they adorn. 
Something will remain. Stevenson's keen studies of our 
moral nature, the essential Englishness of which we have 
just been discussing, must possess an enduring value; the 
grace and beauty of his story's form will continue worthy, 
even if his style should lose its charm. 

Last of all comes his place in the development of the 
short story, and here what has just been reckoned a 
fault must be counted again, and as a virtue. Stevenson 
is the great polisher of the short story. He finally elevates 
modem short narrative above the suspicion of triviality. 
Hawthorne had given it dignity without flexibility, Poe 
beauty without a solid basis, and a generation replete with 
hasty writers had followed. The services of a stylist 
were needed, and, in Stevenson, secured. Furthermore, 
he set the impressionistic story upon its feet in England, 
and upon a firmer base in America. '' There are, so 
far as I know, three ways, and three ways only, of 
writing a story,'' so he said to Graham Balfour, as re- 
ported in the latter's Life of Robert Louis Stevenson, ii. 
169. '' ' You may take a plot and fit characters to it, 
or you may take a character and choose incidents and 
situations to develop it, or lastly — you must bear with 
me while I try to make this clear ' — (here he made a 
gesture with his hand as if he were trying to shape some- 
thing and give it outline and form) — ' you may take a 
certain atmosphere, and get action and persons to express 
and realize it. I'll give you an example — The Merry 
Men. There I began with the feeling of one of those 
islands on the west coast of Scotland, and I gradually 
developed the story to express the sentiment with which 


that coast afiEected mc' " The third item in this descrip- 
tion, when interpreted freely, defines Stevenson's purpose 
in the short story. He shoots straight at a mark, the 
single effect, and employs every word in the aiming. As 
well aware of just what he wished to accoimplish as Poc 
or Henry James, he influenced his own contemporaries 
more than the former, and was read far more widely 
than the latter. He became an authoritative sponsor for 
the new short story. 

It can hardly be said that Stevenson conquered new 
fields for this short story. But he did make it beautiful. 
Sometimes his artistry in words obscures the movement 
of the life those words should reveal. The clothes which 
adorn the figure may hamper its free and natural move- 
ments. Nevertheless, the vividness of his moral stories, 
the grace of his lighter tales, and the beauty of all, will 
enable his admirers to endure with some equanimity the 
detractions which lurk for the reputation of the polisher 
and perfecter of style. 




THE chronicler of the rise of the short story must 
enter upon the last two decades of progress with 
prayer and fasting. The short story has become multi- 
tudinous. Every seed has yielded forty-fold. At first 
glance, it may seem that this chapter should be either 
a book, or a list like the list of the Homeric ships. The 
book must be written, but we are too near the stories 
to do it now. The list has already been attempted in 
part by various bibliographical workers. Fortunately, the 
plan of this critical study requires neither alternative. 

In truth, an account of the progress of any mode of 
literary expression must be like a history of art. The 
historian deals chiefly with two classes, the small be- 
ginnings of great developments, and the masterpieces 
which represent the height of attainment Of these two, 
the small beginnings are usually of infinitely less value 
artistically than the masterpieces. Their historical value, 
however, is as great, and this makes them far more 
significant than works, superior in technique, which possess 
neither virtue of originality, nor distinction of supreme 

The disadvantages of this historical method are evident ; 
too evident in these concluding chapters. Upon earlier 



stories of small literary worth space has often been ex- 
pended which can not now be allowed to contemporary 
narratives with an intrinsic value as much greater as their 
historical importance is less. It is unfortunate that Miss 
Wilkins or Mr. Hewlett should be dismissed with sen- 
tences, when the unspeakable story of the annuals was 
given paragraphs. But this is a necessary evil of the 
chronicle of fashions in literature. Like nature, the his- 
torian must care most for the type, and assimie that 
humble beginnings throw light on all that follows, while 
master-works contain in microcosm the characteristics of 
the less important efforts of the age. The development 
of our short story has been, in some measure, cumulative. 
Much of the criticism already applied to earlier periods, 
if just, will remain to eke out an enforced brevity in 
this discussion of the turn of the twentieth century. 

Many of the earlier chapters have dealt with beginnings. 
From the enormous short-story literature of the past 
twenty years, I shall select the work of one commanding 
figure, Rudyard Kipling, as the best means of illustrating 
what we have finally done with the short story. This 
choice is possible because Kipling is, on the whole, the 
most vigorous, versatile, and highly endowed among con- 
temporary writers of fiction. Next, because his colonial 
life, and his transatlantic connections make him more 
Anglo-Saxon than British. And, finally, for the reason 
that, in his time, no English-writing author has shown 
such consummate mastery of the short story. 

It is as difficult to review Kipling's short stories as to 
characterize East Side New York. They are quite as 
multifarious. But in all their kaleidoscopic variety, in 
bad and in good, there is one distinctive quality. It is 


not merely style ; nor is it any one of the many technical 
perfections with which these stories abound. It is neither 
romanticism nor realism. This quality I shall endeavor 
to define, for I believe it to be the essence of what 
Kipling has done that is new and personal in the short 

Let us strike into the trail at the beginning when, in 
1890, the sudden popularity in London of Plain Tales 
from the Hills, Soldiers Three, and other early volimies 
began Kipling's international reputation. These narra- 
tives were " heady " stories, like Peacock's, which Beetle 
of Stalky SiT Co. used to read. They are chiefly in- 
trigues, or military escapades, with mysterious India for 
a background. Many of them seem thin enough now. 
Nearly all are too flippant; their author too often is 
provokingly sure of the motives which rule all actions, 
or absurdly interested in the social idiosyncrasies of Simla. 
The short story with a twist at the end of it, the short 
story that surprises, is operated unmercifully until its 
artificiality is painfully apparent. 

Yet, with the cheap sensationalism of some of these 
stories came the glamor of them all, the glamor of a 
racial contrast more vivid than any hitherto depicted. 
India, with its innumerable facets, for the first time was 
made real to the layman. The ten times mysterious East 
dazzled him with its Babus, saises. Sahibs, Sikhs, and the 
inexorable Indian service. The romance of the inscrut- 
able differences between races and peoples inflamed him. 
I quote from the beginning of the first story in Plain 
Tales, because it happens to be first : " She was the daugh- 
ter of Soonoo, a Hill-man of the Himalayas, and Jadeh, 
bis wife. One year their maize failed, and two bears 


spent the night in their only opium poppy-field just above 
the Sutlej Valley on the Kotgarh side; so, next season, 
they turned Christian, and brought their baby to the 
Mission to be baptized." For Anglo-Saxons, already en- 
thusiastic over strange corners of the world, there was 
fascination in " Hill-man," in " the Sutlej Valley on the 
Kotgarh side," in the idea of turning Christian because 
a bear eats up one's poppy-field I Yet this was only child's 
magic as compared with what was to follow. As a sheer 
story-teller, Kipling had not reached a tithe of the 
powers of Bret Harte, who was, possibly, his model. 
But his racial color and his racial contrasts, even in 
these early stories, were more intense than Harte*s or 
any man's. Plain Tales and Soldiers Three gave him 
the reputation of an adept in local color, and every 
succeeding volume was to increase it. 

But local color is not a condition ; it is a capability de- 
pendent upon a power over words. " Over our heads 
burned the wonderful Indian stars ; " I quote from The 
Courting of Dina Shadd, " which are not all pricked 
in on one plane; but, preserving an orderly perspective, 
draw the eye through the velvet darkness of the void up to 
the barred doors of heaven itself. The earth was a 
gray shadow more unreal than the sky. We could hear 
her breathing lightly in the pauses between the howling 
of the jackals, the movement of the wind in the tamarisks, 
and the fitful mutter of musketry-fire leagues away to 
the left. A native woman from some unseen hut began 
to sing, the mail-train thundered past on its way to 
Delhi, and a roosting crow cawed drowsily." In such 
description the words make one feel the very essence of 
the novelty, the full force of the contrast which is con- 


taincd in the new environment. In such work, Kipling 
becomes, sometimes, a prose Keats. The comparison 
should not be repellent, for it regards words and power 
over sensation merely. As the drug-clerk in Wireless 
became " temporarily an induced Keats,'' and groped 
painfully for the " five little lines — of which one can 
say: 'These are the pure Magic. These are the clear 
Vision. The rest is only poetry,' " so Kipling, in his 
earliest stories, felt painfully, often inaccurately, for the 
specific word which would photograph the contrasts of 
India. Often he was successful. Sometimes he was 
merely sensational, which means only that he was vivid 
beyond the restraint of art. But the groping ceased 
when he gave life to the jungle, and put into words the 
might of steam and England's ancient peace. All this 
is one cause for his success in the field of local color. 

Kipling won praise for his technique as speedily as 
for his local color. Technique with him means focus. 
That famous story of Mulvaney, his " the-ourisin 
Lift'nint," and the company of " raw bhoys " who were 
hurled naked from the Irriwaddy into the midst of 
Lungtungpen to triumph and a blushing victory — this 
story, for example, is focused like an astronomer's stellar 
field. Masses of Burmah scenery, a plot-idea, and the 
wonderful personality of Mulvaney, these are the elements. 
The personality slips into place as the teller of the story ; 
and that is one turn of the screw for adjusting the lens. 
Next, Burmah becomes a real background. Jingles, 
bamboo huts, elephants, the black river full of logs, pro- 
vide local color for the tale. This is the second turn 
of the screw. Then the whole is unified by the plot-idea 
that raw troops can take a town, even when they are 


naked. Here is yet another turn, and the toning up of 
the whole is the final adjustment. In perfection, the 
technique which results from the process I have somewhat 
fancifully described is so excellent that all structure, all 
effort is concealed. The narrative in On Greenhow Hill, 
for instance, b leisurely, like the big man who takes you 
with him to the bare Yorkshire moors and black mine- 
pits as he tells it on a Himalaya pine slope. .007 is all 
hurry and bustle, with rhythmic outbursts and a vibrant 
motion like the sway of a locomotive. Yet each is 
focused upon its climax, and the focus is its technique. 
It b in this extraordinary power of focusing the story 
that the distinctive quality, which orients all the elements 
of Kipling's work, comes near the surface and may be 
grasped. As Poe worked over his technique in order 
to get substantial effects from insubstantial romanticism, 
so Kipling took pains with his because he passionately 
desired to be interesting. Beginning as an ordinary 
journalist, he learned, as any one who reads From Sea 
to Sea will observe, the first journalistic lesson — ^you 
must write of what is interesting. Whatever else he 
learned or forgot in later years, he has never forsaken 
that law. Even when he discourses upon the faults of 
the English army, he is reasonably interesting, and to 
an American I In his flippant and most uproarious stories 
he interests, even those whom he shocks. To be interest- 
ing, indeed, is the motto, the principle of modem journal- 
ism; and no one has more warmly adopted it than 
Rudyard Kipling. He is our best example of this modem 
institution when raised to its highest power. He is the 
great journalist, and journalism is the pervading quality 
which we have been seeking in his works. Focus, and 


so a good technique, is actually the result of this same 
principle. The " points " of Lungtungpen, for instance, 
are those which would headline themselves; furthermore, 
they are arranged so as to secure the most effective outlay 
of the material. The story is written as a skilful corre- 
spondent would write up a battle or a football game — ^if 
he could. And is not this journalistic principle also 
responsible for some part of Kipling's devotion to the 
specific word, the word which is bound to stir the interest 
of the reader? Is it not to be found again in his searching 
observation of the racial contrasts which interest a genera- 
tion preoccupied with Darwinism and the differentiation 
of species? Is it not the moving spirit in his local color 
as well as his technique? 

Fu-Lee keeps upon his children's counter some wooden 
eggs, gaudily striped, and cloven in the middle. Open 
one, and you find a snialler egg. Open that, and you see 
another, and so on, until in the midst is a mandarin, 
cross-legged, egg-shaped, and tucked away there in the 
middle as an excuse for the whole operation. The fore- 
going analysis of Kipling's powers of local color and 
technique has been a like unshelling. The process re- 
vealed the figure of the journalist. Let the eggs, from 
which have been extracted all useful reflations upon 
Kipling's art as a short-story teller, be put aside, and 
see what further conjury may be wrought with the 
mandarin of journalism. 

Kipling's humor is the most British thing about him. 
It is solid, deep-reaching, unmistakable, and at the furthest 
remove from wit or the American joke. In it are some 
of the faults of the early nineteenth century, the rough- 
ness and horse-play of Thomas Hood and his magazine 


imitators. Yet Kipling is infinitely their superior. The 
early nineteenth century humorists of his kind were often 
tedious; Kipling seldom is, and then only through over- 
strenuosity. Far too skilful for such crudity, he mod- 
ulates with pathos and pure narrative. He selects the 
most humorous humor, as when the rear-end of Mulvaney's 
elephant blocks the British army in the Tangi pass. 
He makes use of the brevity of the short story. It is 
the pursuit of mirth by journalistic methods. 

Kipling did not attain to pathos as quickly as to humor. 
In his early stories, the pathetic is most successful when 
used as a foil to the comic. Mulvaney's power upon 
the reader in such a tale as The Courting of Dinah Shadd 
comes from the depths of sorrow behind his humor. It 
was not until JVithout Benefit of Clergy (1892) that he 
came to his full strength in pathetic prose. The history 
of Ameera is one of the triumphs of the short story. 
Its characterization is vivid; its prog|ress direct and 
poignant. I do not wish even for an instant to seem 
to cheapen one of the most touching and beautiful stories 
in the world when I call it journalism. But the voice 
of the desolate mother breaking into the nursery rime of 
the wicked crow. 

And the wild plums grow in the jungle, only a penny a pound, 
Only a penny a pound, baba—ovXy " 

and every pathetic moment, is chosen by an inspired sense 
for what would most feelingly grasp the interest of the 
reader. This is high art, with intense feeling behind 
it — otherwise it would not be so excellent. But it is 
also good journalism. 

Much the same, when we view Mr. Kipling from 


the angle of the short story, is to be said of his work 
with character. He has already presented the world 
with one individual quite universally familiar to readers 
of English, the wonderful Mulvaney. But is Mulvaney 
like Pickwick or Colonel Newcome? Is not even this 
wonderful Irishman as much a means as an end, a means 
for the interesting transfer to the reader of impressions 
of British India. Certainly this stricture, if it is a 
stricture, would apply to many, if not most, of Kipling's 
characters. They ring true, usually; they are always 
individual; but one feels that, excellent as they may be 
as personalities, their chief use is to discharge what 
interests Mr. Kipling and ourselves. For pure character 
work one must come, indeed, to individuals so elemental 
in their nature that they are not to be reckoned as 
" characters '* at all, to those dear friends of The Jungle 
Books, Baloo, Bagheera, and Kaa. 

There is, of course, no particular reason why Mr. 
Kipling should not handle character as he pleases. As 
it happens, he has chosen the journalistic method. He 
gets all he can from his actors for the interest of his 
story. He fairly squeezes them. And this view is borne 
out by the frequency with which he depicts figures that 
are distinctly " interest-getters." He prefers to deal 
with men who have killed dacoits, handled districts, seen 
forbidden things, put down border wars, talked to ele- 
phants, or been bewitched. The fascination exerted by 
his mystics is almost without parallel in contemporary 
literature. I do not say that this is bad art. On the 
contrary, with so much current that is dull, it is ad- 
mirable, except when overdone. But it shows the influ- 
ence of the little mandarin of high journalism. 


The word journalism has such prosaic connotations 
that half the wonder in Kipling's stories escapes when 
you apply that name to them. The effect, however, will 
not be so appalling if one considers well what journalism 
is. The journalist is one of the agents, perhaps one of 
the most important agents, for the expression of our 
Zeitgeist. He is bom of the desire to seek out news 
of the human creature, news of his habits, of his en- 
vironment, of his mind and soul. Thus, as a journalist, 
Kipling is about the business of the Zeitgeist. As a great 
journalist, he has raised journalism to the heights of 

And the Zeitgeist has also inspired our short story. 
Like journalism, the latter is a manifestation of a nervous, 
curious, introspective age; it is as often superficial and 
sensational; as often vivid and interesting. Without 
our Zeitgeist, we should have known neither the one nor 
the other. Journalism, therefore, is not out of place; 
it is most proper in the practice of the short story. 
Kipling, in his own way, emphasized its rig^t diere. He 
does not cheapen his art by doing so ; he enriches it. 

This journalistic quality, then, is the secret of Kipling's 
touch, the touch which gives his stories the distinction 
one feels and seeks from Plain Tales to the end. Upon 
his early narratives the effect was bad as often as it was 
good. Sometimes they are made sensational, sometimes 
vivid. But after the first fumbling is passed, one begins 
to understand the value of a genius for the striking and 
the interesting. This it is that fires those tales of the 
northern border: The Man Who Would be King, a story 
as brilliant and barbaric as the crown of gold and tour- 
quoise which Peachey brings back from his awful king- 


dom ; The Man Who Was, which, in one tense evening, 
displa3rs all the horror of death-in-life and exile in contrast 
with patriotism and infinite pity; The Drums of the 
Fore and Aft, with its two drunken, hysterical drummer- 
boys, playing a regiment into victory. This creates The 
Jungle Books, those stories so vivid, as well as so true 
to romance, that, for once, our modem interest in beast- 
ways becomes literature. In .007, this endows a loco- 
motive with a human heart. And only such a genius 
could inspire the daring speculation of Wireless. Here 
is the romance of The Jungle Books, the vivid adventure 
of the tales of the border, the subtle mysticism of Wire- 
less, to which might be added as many instances more, 
every one given its distinctive touch by vividness and an 
utter novelty. The situation elaborated in each is not 
only significant, as with Hawthorne, it is interesting to 
the highest degree. The working out is not only skilful, 
as with Henry James, it is vivid and interesting to the 
highest degree. In brief, the skill of a trained journalist 
has lent freshness and power to good narrative. 

I am quite aware that, in this criticism, I do not carry 
all readers with me. Even those who are hurried away 
by the enthusiasm of .007, who thrill with Dravot on the 
terrible bridge, or would become a wolf-man to have such 
a friend as Bagheera of the Broken Lock, might hesitate 
before admitting the force of the argument. For the desire 
to be interesting is a dangerous ally. May it not be re- 
sponsible for the transitory, not the permanent values of 
Kipling's stories? Will not this very effort to search out 
what interests our generation defeat its own object with 
the next? May not our journalism, like our fine cloth- 
ing, be all the more notoriously bad in the next century. 


because of this very timeliness for the nineteenth and 
twentieth ? 

The danger is to be admitted, but, with some reserva- 
tion, Kipling might answer as did Hermione, " That's 
true enough; Though 'tis a saying, sir, not due to me." 
It is certain that the inspiration of the Zeitgeist has some- 
times led him astray. His accurate use of technical names 
ad nauseam appeals to the sdentific, no doubt, but is al- 
ready a little boresome. His rage for the specific leaves some 
gaudiness, and a touch of smartness even in noble stories, 
and this is a blot that will not fade with time. Certain 
tales, Mrs. Bathurst, The Captive, The Comprehension 
of Private Copper, to choose three from a late volume, be- 
tray a journalistic pursuit of news, or the new, quite gone 
to seed, and sure to lose flavor with the passing of the 
interest that gave the stories birth. But these are failures. 
To get at the best results we must choose more remark- 
able narratives. 

The Brushwood Boy (1895) and They (1904) arc 
the noblest examples of the modern short story. They 
are also the most instructive. The Brushwood Boy is 
forged out of dreams, good stuff for poetry, but trying 
metal for narrative. Its idea is so exquisite, so simple, 
and so nearly absurd that, while a child often thinks of it, 
nothing but genius could put it into a story. A boy 
wanders through his dreams with some one he calls Annie- 
^znlouise, the two finest names he knows. Later he 
plunges into the cold prose of public-school life, 9till 
later enters the army, and goes in for the scientific end. 
He becomes a healthy young soldier, intensely real, in- 
tensely practical, and yet never ceases to meet his Anniejn- 
louise in the dream-country they alone know. When he 


meets her in the flesh, and finds that she does not recog- 
nize the boy who has ridden the Thirty-Mile Ride with 
her and fled time and again from '* Them ** to the friendly 
brushwood-pile, the plot is ready for its climax, and the 
overtones, which are everything. Medieval tales of dream- 
maidens afford no real parallel to this story ; they are pure 
romance, this is psychologic romance. This never would 
have been written before the nineteenth century. It never 
could have been so well written without the journalistic 
instinct. For it is not the idea, already used, in a less subtle 
form, by Du Maurier in Peter Ibbetson, which is the prin- 
cipal factor of success. It is the vivid realization of this idea 
by means of striking contrasts, and such aids to belief as an 
ordnance map of the dreamland, or the many circum- 
stances of contemporary life. Only thus an emotion not 
otherwise to be caught except by the most elusive poetry, 
is brought down to earth and comprehended in a story. 
As narrative, The Brushwood Boy is one of the most 
engrossing of stories. As an achievement, it is no less .* 

One should be ready to rest the whole case for the short 
story with They. It is the most exquisite and the most 
touching narrative written in English so far in the twenti- 
eth century. If you understand it, and the tale goes too 
deep into pathos and the mysteries of human nature to be 
easily comprehended, you understand the most that our 
short story has accomplished. If you can analyze the 
means which lead to this perfect result, you have surprised 
Mr. Kipling at his best, and mastered the secret of an 
immensely difficult art of fiction. 

A glad motor-run across the downs, and then a drop 
throu^ an old forest, brings the motorist unexpectedly to 


the edge of a lawn adorned with clipped yew. Beyond is 
a manor-house, raised by the sweetness and dignity of 
Elizabethan England. A child waves from an upper win- 
dow, another laughs behind a fountain, and then she 
appears whom never at any time he calls by name. She is 
blind. And she asks first if he has seen the children. 
"Children! Oh, children!" — ^her yearning call is the 
1720/// of the story. One learns by implication, as one fol- 
lows the narrative, that the children who have left their 
toys in the timbered room, with the latch made low for 
them, who whisk and flutter away, always just seen, just 
heard, never caught, have come to her only because she 
loved children so. They are children of the mind then? 
Not altogether. And this is the wonderful part of this 
story, which is no Hawthomesque allegory, but so true 
and so real, for all its mysticism, that the tears start 
again and again in the reading of it. Their reality is that 
of the fairy people for the middle age, of the music of the 
written note for the musician. They come, to be seen or 
heard, only by one whose ears or eyes are opened. 

It is the opening of the senses through love or through 
grief which is the idea of the story. The lady of this 
ancient house loved children, although she had neither 
borne nor lost. She knew that " they were all that I 
should ever have," and she had left the garden gate open, 
the fire always burning on the hearth, for children would 
have wished it so. Then dead children had come in an- 
swer to her yearning love. " So through the Void the 
Children ran homeward merrily hand in hand, looking 
neither to left nor right where the breathless Heavens 
stood still." And yet she had neither borne nor lost. 
The children, whose voices she hears, though she can not 


see their faces, were not hers. He had lost. It was his 
dead child behind the screen, in the twilight of the great 
hall, who turned his hand softly in her soft hand and gave 
the old signal, the kiss in the center of the palm — "as a 
gift upon which the fingers were, once, expected to close." 
Then he understood. " O, you must bear or lose," she 
had said piteously, " There is no other way." Perhaps he 
feared that her love would pale beside his memory of the 
dead. Or that his presence might be as impassible iron to 
the dead children, who came back because she needed 
them. Certainly she would be jealous for the one which 
was his, as for that other who had come for the butler's 
wife — " Hers! Not for me," she had said. It was not 
right that he should possess his dear memory and yet 
share her experience. 

" Neither the harps nor the crowns amused, nor the cherubs' 

dove-winged races- 
Holding hands forlornly the Children wandered beneath the 

Plucking the radiant robes of the passers by, and with pitiful 

Begging what Princes and Powers refused : — * Ah, please will 

you let us go home ? ' " 

Lest they should not come home, and home to her, he 
goes, never to return again. 

This is the story ; but to tell it so is to miss the beauty 
of a setting all of one tone, to touch, and no more than 
touch, upon a pathos so interpenetrative as to seem an 
effect of the whole, and to blur a meaning too exquisite 
to be utterly explained. This is enough, however, to show 
how far the narrative has been carried into emotions none 


the less intense because they are subtle. The conception is 
valuable in measure with the love of children. It is in- 
conceivable that it could have been expressed in narrative 
except by an impressionistic short story. 

And» to come down to the technical, it was eminent artis- 
tic powers, plus journalism, which made Kipling's success 
possible. The Zeitgeist pushed him on to that unattempted 
yet in narrative prose. His strong sense for the value of 
the real, and his perception of those concrete manifesta- 
tions which, in so subtle a matter, could be grasped by the 
reader, these made him able to put the love of children, in 
its most intimate, most poignant form, into a story. Such 
achievements are not transitory. They have too much 
worth and too much beauty to die with the generation 
for which they have a particular appeal. 

Kipling sums up the last twenty years in the short 
story about as adequately as Shakespeare sums up the 
Elizabethan drama. He best represents the best achieve- 
ments of his age in this literary form. The swarm of 
contemporary story-tellers, big and little, are not always, 
or even usually, influenced directly by his practice. The 
most excellent among them are only less strongly original 
in their way than he in his. To appreciate them properly 
each should have an essay of his own. But their efforts 
are all comprehensible in the light of Kipling and his 
predecessors. Each works with his or her own formula 
but, so far, no one of them has made a further advance in 
the writing of the short story. 

Mr. Hewlett, for instance, constructs a Venetian 
mosaic, each block of which is compressed from the riches 
of history or of literature, and colored with a foreign life. 
He is never coarse or inelegant, as Kipling is so often. 


He seldom forsakes the charm of literary romance in order 
to secure an appearance of reality. He seems to be a highly- 
cultured, highly-imaginative writer, who, except in the 
use of specific words, is not a very good journalist. The 
Madonna of the Peach Tree is a symphony of word-music 
It is an example of perfect tone as a means to the end of 
the impressionistic short story. Miss Wilkins deals in a 
local life which is far quieter and more commonplace than 
India's. Her New England sketches are never sensational, 
and would fail to be striking were it not for the strength 
of her situations and the force of her contrasts. Her 
means are always legitimate; sometimes they are also 
inadequate. Joseph Conrad is most like Kipling. His 
Youth is a splendid example of glorified journalism. So 
interesting a subject as the eternal fascination of the West 
by the East is wrought out in a fashion characteristically 
novel. Plot there is none, but all the apparatus of chang- 
ing scenes, illuminated by specific description and increas- 
ing vividness, is aimed at a single effect. Or, to consider 
very different work, the narratives of our O. Henry crack 
like a whip, and are as French in effect as they are Ameri- 
can in substance. Here is plenty of journalism and very 
little Kipling, yet there is nothing to be said in general of 
his short stories which the critical reader will not discern 
for himself. His curve has already been plotted. 

The exigencies of a historical treatment strictly limit 
our appreciations. Contemporary short-story writers are 
so numerous and so skilful that one feels of a given ex- 
ample as King Harry felt of Percy: 

' I haue a hondrith captayns in Ynglonde/ he sayd, 
'As good as euer was he.'" 


Their purposes, their general methods, have been approxi- 
mately defined. This criticism can in no way be supposed 
to comprehend all that is needful of praise and discrimina- 
tion, yet, with these contemporaries, one key unlocks the 

If Kipling is that key, it is not that he represents the 
most of his fellow-writers, but the best. In its intensest 
mood, his short story is an impressionistic rendering of a 
novel and intricate situation. Towards this goal the best 
writers in their degree have all been struggling. Henry 
James, as well as Kipling, and before him, saw the vision, 
and these two have advanced the art to conquests before 
unthought of. But Henry James is the philosopher who 
traffics in '' the high that proved too hig^, the heroic 
for earth too hard." He is not always interesting, because 
he is not always easily intelligible. He neglects the imagi- 
nation sometimes; he often neglects the heart. He is not 
a good journalist. Mr. Kipling, on the other hand, is quite 
as vital, and more interesting. He sees into human nature 
almost as skilfully as the modern maestro di color che 
sanno, and he tells what he sees there with more effective- 
ness. To the insight of an analyst, and the skill of a story- 
teller, he adds the perceptions of a poet and the quickening 
power which, in lesser manifestations, is called the journal- 
istic In the short story he is the standard-bearer for his 


THE history of the short story in English is the 
history of changing fashions in the writing of the 
short tale. 

The first fashion came into Anglo-Saxon England with 
the culture of the Roman Church. It brought those little 
religious narratives, where the story that had to be short 
was allowed to become written literature because it was 

The next came from France at the prime of her middle 
ages. There was the fabliau, which was the minstrel's 
reflective story, the fable, which was the clerk's, and the 
exemplum, the priest's. There was also the lai, where 
the fairy tale was burnished up for literature; and the 
conte divot, in which naivete reached its most exquisite 

Afterwards, Chaucer took these medieval fashions, and 
gave spirit and humanity to all of them, so that his Can- 
terbury stories are wholly English, even though most of the 
plots, all of the types, and half of the style, came from 
France, Italy, or the Latin literature of the church. By 
beauty of verse, and excellence of telling, and truth and 
richness of the life therein contained, he became the first 
Englishman to lift the short-story kind above the reproach 
of triviality. And, furthermore, he did what great writers 



of the short story have always been doing. He discovered 
therein particular powers of application to life. His 
fabliaux and other stories became a new genre, unequaled 
in any earlier literature, and, in their own way, unequaled 

But this fashion was too difficult for fifteenth century 
England. Henryson, in a Scotch manner, revived it for a 
while, and then, in the stale end of the middle ages, it 
withered with all things medieval. 

The new fashion was Italian. It spread in England as 
none before or after, because it was borne in upon the 
flood-tide of the renaissance. The Italian novella was 
" much in little," a true type of the short story. But the 
English imitation puffed up with Euphuism, gave its fire 
and force to the drama, and lost its effect as a short story 
in the attempt to bear the cultural burden of the renais- 
sance. Then, purged of its Euphuism, it lost its dignity 
and sank back to the popular mouth. 

France sent in the next wave, but this was only the old 
novella, pompous from contamination by the historical 
romance, and expanded into a narrative too short for its 
incidents, too long for a single effect. England devoured 
thousands, until the better taste of the eighteenth century 
preferred the work of the first real novelists. 

The next development was home-made. The short 
story, which had expanded into padded novella, and finally 
been stretched to the dimensions of a many-volumed novel, 
was renewed in the brief narrative sketches of the periodi- 
cal essayists. This was the fashion of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. Like the Elizabethan novella, it, too, was engulfed 
in the novel, giving a treasure of character-study to the 
greater form as the novella had given a plot. 


The romantic movement gave birth to the next short 
story. It was the sensational, melodramatic tale of the 
early nineteenth century, which reached high excellence 
only under the chastening of Irving's eighteenth century 
mind, and was most typical in the maunderings of the 

The romantic movement also gave birth to the modern 
short story. It came first as a new way of telling these 
tales of fear and mystery, which, insubstantial in substance, 
could become valuable only for their effect. Poe, the in- 
novator here, is the first individual of commanding im- 
portance since Chaucer in the history of short-story 
&shions. The Zeitgeist, usually, had wrou^t the 
changes, and the power of single personalities had been 
almost negligible. 

The rest of the nineteenth century, and the first of the 
twentieth, has seen the application of this last fashion of 
telling to more and more apposite, and more and more 
worthy subjects, preeminent among them the contrasts 
of civilizations in flux, and the subtle and interesting 
situations of our own complex society. And finally, what 
began with Poe as impressionism merely has become a 
powerful engine for the expression of life. 

Is it safe to predict of the future? Yes, in a limited 
degree. A new fashion in short-story telling is bound to 
come. Some practices that are bad in our short story will 
bum themselves out before then. Some qualities that are 
good are sure to remain. 

Our modem short story began as technique for a worthy 
effect. In lesser hands, at least, it is degenerating into a 
technique whose effect is merely technical. The specific 
word, the rapid introduction, the stressed climax, the care- 


ful focus, and the studied tone, are too often the masters, 
not the servants, of the story. Facility is widespread, 
artificiab'ty rampant. Scores of well-known short-story 
writers prepare to ascend their little peaklet of narrative 
accoutered like Tartarin in his Alpine regalia, equipped 
not for their Rigi, but Mont Blanc In so recent a collec- 
tion as Plain Tales from the Hills, the effort is already as 
patent as the success. When our tastes are a little more 
jaded by the nervous endeavor of the modem short story, 
many and many a successful tale will seem as false in 
taste as the vapidities of the Euphuists. A less labored 
story must come back. The movement will be towards 
the ideal of Chaucer, and away from the strenuosity of 

But this is an error in the abuse, not in the good use 
of the short story. When the end justifies the means, no 
technique can be too elaborate, no effects too carefully 
wrought. It is inconceivable that our just gained power 
to make vivid life's intenser moments should be sacrificed, 
imless change of time should bring change of interest with 
it. Let sensationalism go, and go quickly ; not so, however, 
the art which Kipling used for They. It is to be hoped 
that a new taste will rediscover the beauty of the simple, 
unforced tale. But the story of single effect, with all 
the craft which lies behind it, is a good tool, even when 
put to bad uses. It is worthier to be improved, if the 
power be given us, than to be lost, like the art of Chaucer, 
or, like the fabliau, to be thrown away. 


So far as possible, all necessary material has been in- 
corporated in the preceding chapters. An unpublished thesis 
by the author, The Novella and Related Varieties of 
the Short Narrative in English before Chaucer; with an 
Introduction on the Nature and History of the Reflective 
Story, now in the Yale Library, contains a grundriss of short 
narrative in English before Chaucer, and other material 
complementary to Part I of this book. 

In the following sections, however, whose titles indicate 
their correspondence with the chapters of the book, will be 
found reference to editions of narratives which have been 
edited or translated, and are not easily accessible in their 
original form ; also a selected list of useful books and articles 
in addition to those mentioned in the text. 

Chapter L The Conte Divot, For an account of the 
origin of the Vittg Patrum see Romische Litteratur Geschichte, 
Martin Schanz, Vol. IV, Pt. I, 376ff. For the literary myth 
of the Greeks and Romans in the early Christian period see 
Wilhelm Christ, Gesch, der Griech Litt. bis auf die Zeit 
Justinians, Sees. 575-6-7-8. 

For Gregory's Dialogues in the Old English translation 
sec C. W. M. Grein, and R. P. Wulker. Bibliothek der 
Angelsdchsischen Prosa, Vol. V. 

The Old English Version of Bede's Ecclesiastical History, 
cd. and trs. by T. Miller, E. E. T. S., 95. 96. 

^Ifric's Sermones Catholici, ed. and trs. by B. Thorpe. 
JElfric's Lives of Saints, cd. and trs. by W. W. Skeat, 
E. E. T. S., 76, 82, 94, 114. See, too, J. H. Ott, Uber die 
Quellen der Heiligenleben in Aelfric's Lives of Saints. 


352 NOTES 

For the Vita Patrum stories in late West Saxon sec 
Grein and Wulker, op. cit., Vol. Ill, 195-198. 

For the French conte divot see G. Paris, La LittSrature 
Franqaise au Moyen Age, Pt. II, sec, 1, ch. vi. 

The South-English Legendary, ed by C. Horstmann, £. 

For the Mary-story see, for an account of its history in 
European literature, A. Mussafia, Studien zu den Mittelalter- 
lichen Marienlegenden, Kais. Akad, d. fViss., Wien, 1886- 
98; for a partial summary of its occurrence in early Middle 
English, C. Horstmann, Altenglische Legenden, 1881, 329. 
For the Vernon Mary-stories see The Minor Poems of the 
Vernon MS., Pt. I, i38ff., ed. by C Horstmann, K K T. S., 
98. For the story of the clerk and Our Lady see C Horst- 
mann, Altenglische Legenden, 1881, 499ff. According to 
Horstmann, this story may have belonged to a twelfth cen- 
tury Midland collection from which the Vernon stories may 
have been drawn. 

Robert of Brunne's Handlyng Synne, ed. by F. J. Fumivall, 
E. E. T. S., 119, 123, with French text of William of Wading- 
ton's Manuel des Pechiez included. For the sources of the 
stories see G. Paris, Hist, Litt, de la France, Vol. XXVIII, 


For The Northern Homilies sec English Metrical Homi- 
lies, ed. by J. Small, which contains only the first twelve 
homilies and part of the thirteenth. See G. H. Gerould, The 
North-English Homily Collection, for a summary of the 
stories with analogues and sources. The narracii, from a 
later version in MS. Vernon, have been edited by C Horst- 
mann in i/^rriyj Archiv, Vol. LVII, 241 ff. See also an article 
by G. H. Gerould in Modern Philology, March, 1907, an- 
nouncing the discovery of the probable source of the collec- 

For a partial bibliography of contes divots in early Middle 
English, see W. H. Schofield, English Literature from the 
Norman Conquest to Chaucer, p. 480. 

Chapter II. Stories Told For Instruction Mainly, For the 

NOTES 353 

exemplum in general see A. LeG)y de la Marche, La Chaire 
Frangaise au Moyen Age; The Exempla of Jacques de Vitry, 
ed. by T. F. Crane, Introduction; Les Contes Moralisis de 
Nicole Bo2on, ed. by L. T. Smith and P. Meyer, Introduction. 

The Jataka, ed. and trs. by £. B. Cowell. 

For the work of Odo of Cheriton see L. Hervieux, Les 
Fabulistes Latins^ Vol. IV. 

For ^Ifric's Sermo in Natale Unius Confess oris see 
Grein and Wiilker, op. cit, Vol. III., 49!!. See particularly 
11. 249-250. 

A Selection of Latin Stories, ed. T. Wright, Percy Society, 
Vol. VIII. 

For The Homilies of MS. Lambeth 487 see Old English 
Homilies, ed. by R. Morris, E. E. T. S., 29. 
"* Thie Ayenbite of Inwyt, ed. by R. Morris, E, E. T. S., 23. 

The Blickling Homilies, ed. and trs. by R. Morris, E. E. 
T. S., 58. 63. 73. 

The Ancren Riwle, ed. and trs. by J. Morton. 

The Cursor Mundi, ed. by R. Morris, E. E. T. S., 57, 59, 
62, 66, 68, 99, loi. 

For the Ysopet of Marie of France see Die Fabeln der 
Marie de France, ed. by K. Warnke in Bibliotheca Nor- 
mannica. Vol. VI., ed. by H. Suchier. 

For an English version of The Seven Sages see Metrical 
Romances, Vol. Ill, ed. by H. Weber. See also Killis Camp- 
bell, A Study of the Romance of the Seven Sages with spe- 
cial reference to the Middle English Versions, 

Barlaam and Josaphat, ed. C. Horstmann, Altenglische 
Legenden, 1875, 215!!. and 226ff. See also The Northern 

For Romulus and Avian see L. Hervieux, op. cit. Vols. I, 

For fable writing in Latin and French and for a brief sur- 
vey of the fable in England of the nth, 12th, and 13th cen- 
turies see J. Jacobs, The Fables of ^sop. 

For the sources of Marie of France see Warnke, op. cit., 
xliv-ff., and E. Mall, Zeitschrift fur Rom. Phil., Vol. LX, 
J76£f. For the inter-relations among the fables of Odo, 

354 NOTES 

Marie, and Bozon sec L. T. Smith and P. Meyer, op. dt, In- 
troduction; and P. Harry, A Comparative Study of the 
JEsopic Fable in Nicole Bozon. 
The Owl and the Nightingale, cd. by J. R Wells 
The fables surviving in English from before Chaucer, so 
far as the writer has been able to ascertain, are as follows: 
i) The naive fable of the little crab who would swim back- 
wards. It is to be found in the Vth homily of MS. Lambeth 
487 of the I2th century, whose contents are probably derived, 
according to the editor, R. Morris, from Old English sermons 
of a century before. It seems to be an interpolation, for, 
while the other animals mentioned in the homily are inter- 
preted, the crab is not, nor is the crab mentioned in the sum- 
mary at the end. The fable is from Avian, and seems to have 
no connection with the hypothetical English stock. 2) The 
tale of the nest in The Owl and the Nightingale, 3) The 
story of the fox with many tricks, in the same poem. 4) A 
short, but pithy story of the ass condemned by the lion for 
eating sage, to be found in a Southern Song on the Times, 
ed. T, Wright, The Political Songs of England from the reign 
of John to that of Edward II, 195!!. The MS. of the song 
was written in Ireland c 1308 by an English monk. This 
fable is interesting not only because of its close relation with 
the beast- epic, of which it is, perhaps, the earliest surviving 
English fragment, but also since its closest analogue, among 
many in many tongues, is the equivalent story in Bozon's col- 
lection, a collection already held suspect of drawing upon 
English sources. 5) The ^sopian fable of the hound and 
the donkey in the Kentish Ayenhite of Inwyt (1340). 6) 
The story of the nightingale who escaped from her captof*" 
by promising good advice ; story 4 in Barlaam and Josaphat, 
which came into the South- West Midland in the first half of 
the 14th century. 

Chapter III. Stories Told For Pleasure, For a general 
discussion of the lai in English see W. H. Schofield, English 
Literature from the Norman Conquest to Chaucer. 

The Mabinogion, ed. and trs. by Lady Charlotte Guest 

NOTES 355 

The Brut of Layatnon, ed. and trs. by Sir F. Madden. 

For the lais of Marie of France see Die Lais der Marie de 
France, ed. by K. Warnke in Bibliotheca Normannica, ed. by 
H. Suchier, Vol. III. 

Sir Orfeo, ed. O. Zielke; Le Freine, ed. H. Weber, op. cit. 
Vol. I, 355ff.; Sir Dagarre, ed. Ahbotsford Club Pub,, i849» 
Bishop Percys Folio MS,, Vol. Ill, i6ff.; K V. Uttcrson, 
Select Pieces of Early Popular Poetry, Vol. I, naff.; Sir 
Gowther, ed. by K. Breul ; see too E. V. Utterson, op. cit. Vol. 
I, I57ff. ; Etnare, ed. by J. Ritson, Ancient English Metrical 
Romances, Vol. II, ^04^. ;The Earl of Toulouse, ed. by J. 
Ritson, op. cit., Vol. Ill, 93ff.; Sir Launfal, ed. by J. Ritson, 
op. cit. Vol. I, I70ff. See also a bibliography in W. H. 
Schofield, op. cit. for additional references. 

Sir Amadace, ed. H. Weber, op. cit., Vol. Ill, 241 ff., is a 
short romantic story of this period, though preserved in later 
manuscripts, which combines some of the characteristics of 
the lai, and the conte divot in a rather harmonious whole. 
Sir Cleges, ed. by H. Weber, op. cit., Vol. I, 329^., begins in 
the fashion of a lai, but continues in the manner of a fabliau^ 
with the plot of an old Indian novella. 

For the best general discussion of the fabliau see J. B6dier, 
Les Fabliaux, 2d edition, 1895. For the English fabliaux 
see also the articles by W. M. Hart, mentioned in the notes 
for Ch. IV. 

Dame Sirig, ed. E. Matzner, Altenglische Sprachproben, 
Vol. I, iQsff. ; for source see W. Eisner, Zeitschr, fur 
Vergleich, Litt., Vol. I, 221 ff. 

The Vox and the Wolf, ed. by E. Matzner, op. cit., Vol. I, 
i3off. For French parallels see Le Roman du Renart, Vol. 
I, 240ff., ed. by M. D. M. M6on and The Supplhnent to 
M6on's work by P. Chabaille. See, too, Le Roman du 
Renard, ed. by E. Martin. For a discussion of the English 
poem see G. H. McKnight, The Middle English Vox and the 
Wolf, Pub, Mod. Lang, Ass, of America, Vol. XXIII, No. 3. 

A Pennyworth of Witte, ed. by R Kolbing, Engl, Stud,, 
Vol. VII, iiiflF. Another version, which is later, but very 
much the same in text, is printed with the earlier poem. 

356 NOTES 

De la Bourse Pleine de Sens, cd. in the Recueil of A. 
Montaiglon et G. Raynaud, Vol. Ill, 88ff. 

For the German use of the term "novella" (novelle in 
German) see Edwin Rohde, Verhandlungen der dreissigsten 
Versammlung Deutschen Philologen und Schulmanner in 
Roitock, 1875, Leipzig, 1876, 58ff. 

The Italian use of the term is well known. Though novella 
is employed in that language to cover loosely many varieties 
of short narratives it is most commonly associated with re- 
flective stories of human nature which are told for the story 
rather than for a possible moral. Boccaccio says, "Intendo 
di raccontar cento novelle, o favole, o parabole, o istorie che 
dir le vogliamo," but commonly uses the word novelle in 
place of these other terms, all of which, it is to be observed, 
denote stories based upon human nature. I have used the 
word novella, without italics, much as the Germans use their 
word novelle, that is to denote roughly a large class of un- 
moral stories dealing with human nature, and usually re- 
flecting upon it. It is to be distinguished from novella in 
italics, which will be reserved for the Italian story. 

Chapter IV. Chaucer and Gower. The English Works 
of John Gower, ed. by G. C. Macaulay. Tales of the Seven 
Deadly Sins being the Confessio Amantis of John Gower, ed. 
by Henry Morley. 

The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. by W. W. 
Skeat; see also The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. by A. 
W. Pollard. 

T. R. Lounsbury, Studies in Chaucer: his life and writ- 

For bibliography of Chaucer see £. P. Hammond, Chaucer: 
a bibliographical manual. 

. For Chaucer's fabliaux see W. M. Hart, The Reeve* s Tale: 
A Comparative Study of Chaucer's Narrative Art, and The 
Fabliau and Popular Literature, Pub. of the Mod. Lang. Ass. 
of America, Vol. XXIII, No. i, and Vol. XXIII, No. 3. 

De Gombert et des Deux Clercs, ed. Montaiglon et Ray- 
naud, op. cit., Vol. I, 238ff. 

NOTES 357 

The Miller of Abyngden, ed. W. C. Hazlitt, Remains of 
the Early Popular Poetry of England, Vol. III. gSflF. 

Chapter V. The Heirs of Chaucer. The Latin Gesta 
Romanorum is edited by H. Oesterley. The English Gesta 
Romanorum is edited by S. J. Heritage, E. E. T. S., 33. 
Ex. Ser. 

Other published exemplum collections from this period are : 
Alphabetum Narrationum, ed. M. M. Banks, £. E. T. S., 126, 
127; Jacob's Well, ed. A. Branders, E. E. T. S., 115; The 
Book of the Knight of La Tour-Landry, ed. T. Wright, 
E. E. T. S., 33. 

Lydgate's Fabula Duorum Mercatorum, ed. by G. Schleich, 
Quellen und Forschungen, Vol. LXXIII. The Chorle and 
the Bird and Dane Joos, both edited by J. O. Halliwell, Percy 
Society, Vol. II. A new edition of Lydgate's works is about 
to be published by H. N. MacCracken. 

Hoccleve*s Works, The Minor Poems, ed. by F. J. Fumi- 
vall, E. E. T. S., 61, Ex. Ser. References to the Gesta 
Romanorum in connection with Occleve are to the English 

It is possible that Advice to an Old Gentleman who Wished 
for a Young Wife was written by Occleve. It is certainly not 
the work of Lydgate. The poem is more interesting as a 
professed imitation of Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale than 
excellent as a narrative. It has been printed in Percy So- 
ciety, Vol. II. 

I have altered the punctuation of the fifth and sixth lines 
of the quotation from Occleve's Jereslaus in order to con- 
form with the sense of the text. 

The Poems and Fables of Robert Henrys on, ed. by G. 
Gregory Smith. For a study of sources see A. R. Drebler, 
Hentisone's Fabeldichtungen. 

The Poems of William Dunbar, ed. by J. Small. 

Lyndsa/s The Historie of Sqyer William Meldrum, ed. by 
J. A. H. Murray, E. E, T. S., 35- 

For reference to fifteenth century versions of earlier fab' 
liaux, lais, contes divots, etc., see W. H. Schofield, op. cit 

358 NOTES 

For the texts of many fifteenth century semi-popular stories 
see W. C. Hazlitt, op, cit 

Chapter VI. The Short Story of the Renaissance. For 
the Italian novella see A. Bartoli, Primi due SecoU delta 
Litteratura Italiana, and A. Gaspary, The History of Early 
Italian Literature to the Death of Dante, trs. by H. Oelsner. 
For examples of the French nouvelles see C. Louandre, Chefs- 
d'oeuvre des Conteurs Frangaise avant La Fontaine, 1050- 

B. Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, trs. by Sir T. 
Hoby, ed. by W. Raleigh. A. de Guevara, The Dial of 
Princes, trs. by T. North, Golden Epistles, trs. by G. Fenton. 
R Tilney, A brief e and pleasaunt discourse of duties in Mar- 
riage, 1568. No title page. Running head — ^The Flower of 
Friendship. For a' review of the Italian influence upon the 
English renaissance see L. D. Einstein, The Italian Renais- 
sance in England, For the popularity of Italian literature in 
England see M. A. Scott, Translations from the Italian, Pub. 
of the Mod. Lang. Soc. of America, 1895, 1899. For the de- 
velopment of the rhetorical style in Italy see A. Gaspary, 
Geschichte der Italienischen Litteratur. 

For the Spanish influence see J. G. Underbill, Spanish Lit- 
erature in England of the Tudors. 

See, too, for this period, Elisabethan Prose Fiction, by J. 
W. H. Atkins ; Qi. XVI, in The Cambridg: History of Eng- 
lish Literature, ed. A. W. Ward and A. R. Waller. 

Chapter VII. The Elizabethan Novella. For an excellent 
discussion of the fiction of this period from the point of view 
of the critic of the novel, see J. J. Jusserand, The English 
Novel in the Time of Shakespeare, 

For jest-books see Shakespeare's Jest Book. A Hundred 
Mery Talys, ed. H. Oesterley; Shakespeare Jest-Books, ed. 
W. C. Hazlitt. 

William Walter's verse translation and adaptation, with 
other writing of the same kind, is transitional between the 
verse story of the 14th and 15th centuries and the new prose 


novella. For Walter see J. Zupitza, Vierteljahrsschrift fur 
Kult, u, Liu. der Ren., Vol. I, 63ff. For other versifiers of 
the Italian novella see the account in Thomas Warton, His- 
tory of English Poetry, Vol. Ill, Sec. LX, and E. Koeppel, 
Studien sur Geschichte der Italienischen Novelle in der Eng^ 
lischen Litteratur des Sechzehnten Jahrhunderts, Quellen ur^d 
Forschungen, Vol. LXX. The best of these was Turbervile, 
whose Tragical Tales have been reprinted, Edinburgh, 1837. 

Elyot, The Bake named The Governour, ed. by H. H. S. 

With Painter's Palace are to be grouped the following 
works, in the main translations : The Forest, or Collection of 
His tor yes, 1576, by Thomas Fortescue, done out of French, 
but originally from the Spanish Silva of Petrus Messia. 
This is a strange collection of chapters on moral and learned 
topics, interspersed with wonders and with historical exam- 
ples, scarcely to be considered a story collection, though 
usually so listed. Thomas Lodge later drew upon the same 
work for his Life and Death of William Longbeard; Foure 
Straunge, Lamentable, and Tragical Histories, translated out 
of the French by Robert Smyth, 1577. (See The British 
Bibliographer); H(enry) W(otton')s, A Courtlie Contra- 
versie of Cupid's Cautels; — Translated out of the French as 
neare as our English Phrase will permit, 1578, (see E, Koep- 
pel, op. cit, p. 43ff. ; H. C, Forrest of Fancy, 1579 (see 
Restituta, ed. Brydges, III, 456-76) ; Ed. Grimestone's Ad- 
mirable and Memorable Histories, 1607, borrowed from the 
work of the French refugee and translator of the classics, 
S. Goulart, the book a pot-pourri of remarkable episodes, 
historical nuggets, and condensed novelle. The British 
Bibliographer contains notices of other translations by H. 
Gifford, 1580, and E. A., 1590. The Heptameron of the Queen 
of Navarre was taken over in 1597; The Decameron, com- 
plete, only in 1620; that most famous of classic fictions, The 
Golden Ass of Apuleius, in 1566, with many reprints. 

Painter was not the only Elizabethan writer to draw stories 
from the classic as well as renaissance sources. The older 
novellas, however, were of a type with the Italian novelle 

36o NOTES 

in that they depicted active and possible life usually in a re- 
flective fashion. 

Certain Tragical Discourses of Bandello translated into 
English by Geffraie Fenton, cd. by R. L. Douglas, contains a 
valuable introduction, which may be consulted for a general 
discussion of Bandello and Belleforest. 

The Complete Poems of George Gascoigne, ed. by W. C. 

George Whetstone's The Rocke of Regard, ed. J. P. G)llier. 
Whetstone also published, in 1582, The Heptameron of Civill 
Discourses, from which only one story. Promos and Cas- 
sandra, has been reprinted. (See W. C. Hazlitt, Shake- 
speare's Library, Vol. II, pt 2.) I have not seen the com- 
plete work, but, judging from this story, it is not highly 
significant for the development of short narrative. 

Riche his Farewell to Militarie Profession, printed for the 
Shakespeare Society, 1846. Ed. by J. P. Collier. 

William Warner's Pan's Syrinx, containing seven tragical 
and seven comical histories, which Warton says are written in 
the style of Heliodorous, may belong among the imitations 
of Italian fashions. I have not seen it 

Pettie's Petite Pallace has not been reprinted. 

Euphues, the Anatomy of Wit, and Euphues and his Eng- 
land have been edited by R. W. Bond in The Complete Works 
of John Lyly. For a discussion of the alleged Spanish source 
of Euphuism, see E. Landmann, Der Euphuismus, also his 
article in New Shakespeare Society Publications (1880-85). 
The author fails to value properly the general tendency 
toward rhetorical style. 

The Complete Works of Robert Greene, ed. by A. B. 
Grosart. See Jusserand, op. cit., for a discussion of the 
Elizabethan romances. In Breton and Ford the worst ex- 
cesses of Euphuism have disappeared. Indeed, in The Two 
Noble Princes, Euphuism seems to be ridiculed. See p. ii 
in Grosart's edition. 

The Works of Thomas Nashe, ed. R. B. McKerrow- 
Chettle, who took up the picaresque the year after Jack 
Wilton with Piers Plainnes Seaven Veres Prentiship (1595), 

NOTES 361 

ed. by H. Varnhagen, shows still more clearly the desire to 
do something long. He endeavors to combine the romance 
of Greene with the picaresque of Nash. 

The Works in Verse and Prose of Nicholas Breton, ed. A. 
R Grosart MatHlia is contained in The Wil of Wit, men- 
tioned by a contemporary in 1582, licensed in 1580; no edition 
earlier than 1597. The style of Mavilia suggests that it was 
added to the pamphlet in the 1597 edition. 

The Gentle Craft, ed. by A. F. Lange, Palastra, Vol. XVIII. 
There were two parts, the first published in 1597, the second 
probably soon after. Tarletons Newes out of Purgatorie 
and extracts from The Cobler of Canterburie, ed. by J. O. 
Halliwell for the Shakespeare Society, 1844. Westward for 
Smelts, ed. by J. O. Halliwell, Percy Society, Vol. XXII. 
See, too, for the debased short story, Thomas Lodge's The 
Life and Death of William Longbeard (1593) in his Com- 
plete Works, ed. by E. W. Gosse. 

The Non-Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker; ed. by A. B, 

Scotland, the home of the most brilliant English short nar- 
rative of the 15th century, shows no marked originality in 
this renaissance. The reprint of Scottish publishers' cata- 
logues shows a conservative taste among Scottish readers, and 
little new work in fiction that was not borrowed from Eng- 

Chapter VIII. The Commonwealth to the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury, E. Arbcr, The Term Catalogues, 1668- 1709. A paper, 
The French Nouvelle in England, 1660- 1700, by J. M. Clapp, 
was announced in the programme of the meeting of The 
Mod. Lang. Ass. of America for December, 1907. I believe 
that it has not yet been published. For the heroic romance 
see J. J. Jusserand, op. cit 

The Works of John Dryden, ed. by Sir Walter Scott, rev. 
and cor. by G. Saintsbury. 

Chapter IX. The Eighteenth Century. The works dis- 
cussed in this and succeeding chapters fall into two classes. 

362 NOTES 

To the first belong many productions which have never been 
edited and which must be sought, usually, in their original 
editions, or in reprints belonging to their own period. To 
the second belong books which are famous and reprinted in 
many editions. In both cases, it has seemed to be unneces- 
sary, except in special instances, to add a discussion of edi- 
tions to the title and the date already given in the text of 
this book. For information regarding the accessible reprints 
of many of the books mentioned in the remaining chapters 
the reader is referred to the bibliography in W. L. Cross, 
The Development of the English Novel; for still more exten- 
sive information to the catalogue of a good library. 

For a representative collection of eighteenth century essays 
see Alexander Chalmers, The British Essayists. 

William Beckford's Vathek has been edited by R. Gamett. 

It is interesting to note that many narratives of the 
eighteenth century essayists deal with a situation, as do 
the short stories of the latter nineteenth century. The story 
of Emilia and Honoria in Spectator 302 is an example. But 
the resemblance goes no further. An eighteenth century title 
which beautifully illustrates the tendency of the periodical 
short narrative is Modern Characters Illustrated by Histories 
in Real Life (i7S3). 

Chapter X. The Early Nineteenth Century. For the gen- 
eral subject of romanticism in fiction see W. L. Cross, op. 
cit, and H. A. Beers, A History of English Romanticism in 
the Eighteenth Century and A History of English Roman- 
ticism in the Nineteenth Century. 

For a partial list of the translations into English from the 
German romanticists in the twenties and thirties consult 
Palmer Cobb, The Influence of E. T. A. Hoffman on the 
Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, Ch. II. 

William Austin's Peter Rugg, The Missing Man, has been 
reprinted by C. S. Baldwin in American Short Stories. W. 
H. Maxwell's Stories of Waterloo (1831) contains many 
short narratives which are refreshingly unlike the stuff of 
the annuals. They are scattered through a long narrative of 

NOTES 363 

loose structure, and suffer from their subordination, but are 
notable for their spirit and content if not for their form. 

Chapter XL Edgar Allan Poe, For the relation between 
Poe and German romanticism see Palmer Cobb, op. cit, G. 
Gruener, Notes on the Influence of E. T, A, Hoffman on 
Edgar Allan Poe, Pub, of the Mod. Lang, Ass, of America, 
March, 1904. See also a list of other treatments of the sub- 
ject in Chapter I of Professor Cobb's pamphlet. 

Discussions of Poe's technique are so numerous as to ask 
for a special bibliography. The reader will find Professor C. 
S. Baldwin's treatment of the subject interesting as a study 
from a point of view differing from that of this chapter. 
It is to be found in the second chapter of the introduction to 
his American Short Stories, and also in his Essays Out of 

Chapter XII. Nathaniel Hawthorne, For the relation 
between Hawthorne and German romanticism see A. Schon- 
bach, Beitrdge sur Char act eristik Nathaniel Hawthorne's, 
Bnglische Studien, Vol. VII, 239ff. In a note to The 
Prophetic Pictures (see Riverside edition, ed. G. P. Lathrop), 
it is stated that " This story was suggested by an anecdote in 
Donlap's History of the Arts of Design,*' 

Chapter XIII. The Mid-Century in England. It may be 
worth noting that The House and the Brain of Bulwer Lyt- 
ton, as it first appeared in Blackwood's, possessed a long and 
unnecessary conclusion. This does not appear in the collected 
editions of Bulwer Lytton's works. Perhaps the growth of 
the sense of form in the short story accounts for the im- 

The date of Henry Kingsle/s Our Brown Passenger as 
given in the text is the date of the volume in which it ap- 
pears. Presumably, the story appeared separately at an 
earlier period, but I have not been able to discover such a 

364 NOTES 

Chapter XIV. The Mid-Century in America. The verdoii 
of Harte's Mliss referred to in this chapter is the first form. 
The Houghton MiflSin edition of 1902 (revised by the 
author) contains a later and longer version entitled M'liss. 

Chapter XV. The Technique of the Modern Short Story, 
A majority of the publications upon the modern short stoo% 
other than magazine articles, have dealt with the writing of 
the short story rather than with its nature or history. Typical 
examples of these rhetorical treatises are The Short-Story, Its 
Principles and Structure, by E. M. Albright, and Writing the 
Short Story, by J. B. Esenwdn. In addition to the essays 
of Professor C. S. Baldwin already referred to, and The 
Philosophy of the Short-Story of Professor Brander Mat- 
thews, the reader should consult Professor Bliss Perry's A 
Study of Prose Fiction, Ch. XII and C Hamilton, Materials 
and Methods of Fiction. See for bibliography of the criti- 
cism of fiction Prose Fiction. A Bibliography, by N. L. Good- 
rich, Bulletin of Bibliography, July, 1906, to January, 190S. 

Chapter XVI. The Americans from Bret Harte to the 
Nineties. Interesting comments upon the art of fiction in all 
its forms are to be found in the annotations to Nox>els and 
Tales of Henry James (1907 — ), an edition with special 
prefaces by the author. 

The studies in the local color of the Tennessee mountains 
by Charles Egbert Craddock (M. N. Murfree) arc only sec- 
ond in historical importance to Mr. Cable's work with the 
" atmosphere " of Louisiana. They are second not only be- 
cause they came a little later, but also because, though good 
stories, they did not attain an equal excellence. 

Chapter XVII. Rudyard Kipling and the Contemporary 
Short Story. For a bibliography of Kipling's stories see R. 
Le Gallienne, Rudyard Kipling. A Criticism, and F. L 
Knowles, A Kipling Primer. 

For a list of typical short stories, the majority of which are 
by modem authors, see H. L. Elmendorf, One Hundred Good 



Short Stories, Bulletin of Bibliography, April, 1898, and E. L. 
Adams, One Hundred Good Short Stories, Bulletin of 
Bibliography, January, 1905. 

No list can fail to take account of the work of Sarah Ome 
Jewett, W. W* Jacobs, Alice Brown, Richard Harding Davis, 
Doyle, Page, Wister, Deland in addition to those men- 
tioned in the text, but distinction among the many just below 
the best is impracticable and invidious. 

For a selective bibliography, with dates, of tales and short 
stories, see Jessup and Canby, The Book of the Short Story. 


Abbotsford Club, publications 

of the, 355. 
Academy, The, 278. 
Adams, £. L., 365. 
Addison, J., 159, 168, 178, 

i8off., i88ff., i^., I99> 

200, 222. 
Admirable and Memorable 

Histories, see Grimcstone. 
Adventurer, The, see Hawkes- 

Advice to an Old Gentleman 

who Wished for a Young 

Wife, see Occleve. 
Aelfric, 10, lor; Sermones 

Catholici, Sflt., 25, 351; 

Passiones Sanctorum, 9, 

351 ; Sermo In Natale Uni- 

us Confessoris, 26, 353. 

-^sop, 35, 36, 79, 91, 173. 179- 

After Dark, see Collins. 

Albright, £. M., 364. 

Alcida. see Greene. 

Aldrich, T. B., 302, 307, 316, 
317, 318. 

Alexius, legend of, see Pettic. 

Alfred. King, 7, 9ff., 37. 

Alhambra, The, see W. Irv- 

Almamoulin, see Johnson. 

Alnaschar, see Addison. 

Alphabetum Narrationum, 81, 

Alphonsus, 173. 

Altenglische Legenden, see 

Altenglische Sprachproben, 

see Matzner. 

Alvrez le roi, 37. 

Amadis of Gaul, 43, 165. 

Amaranth, The, 214. 

American Note-Books, The, 
see Hawthorne. 

American Short Stories, see 

Ancient English Metrical 
Romances, see Ritson. 

Ancient Mariner, The, sec 

Ancren Riwle, 10, 29fF., 353. 

Anglo-Saxon literature, ab- 
sence of the " good story " 
in, 3; absence of the fable 
in, 3, 35; the conte divot 
in, 4ff. ; the Mary-story in, 
8, 15 ; the apologue in, aSff. ; 
the exemplum in, 25ff. 

Annual, the, 212, 2146., 221, 


Apparition of Mrs, Veal, 
The, see Defoe. 

Apologue, the, used as an ex- 
emplum, 24; its nature and 
history, 23. 27ff., 30, 34, 42 ; 
in Anglo-Saxon, 28ff. ; in 
Middle English before 
Chaucer, 18, 26, 29^., 37, 
40, 56; in the eighteenth 
century, 198, 200, 201, 203, 
210, 211 ; see also 66. 

Applebee's Journal, see De- 

Apuleius, 350. 

Arabian Nights, The, Of, 158, 
I96ff., 201. 

Arber, E., 158, 173, 361. 

Arcadia, The, see Sidney. 

Aretino, P., iii. 




Ariosto, L., 112. 

As You Like IL 143. 

Ascham, R., 126. 

Ass condemned by the lion, 

fable of the, 354. 
Ass in the lion's skin, fable 

of the, 70, 71. 
Athetutum, The, 229, 248, 278. 
Atkins, J. W. H., 358. 
Aubin, P., 188. 
Auchinleck MS., 46. 
Austen, J.. 184, 217. 
Austin, W., 224, 362, 
Avenger, The, see De Quincey. 
Avian. 35, 353, 354- 
Ayenbite of Inwyt, The, 26, 

3i> 353, 354* 


Babrios, 35. 
Bacon, R, 139, 152. 
Baldwin, C S., 219, 237. 280, 

300. 362. 363. 364. 
Balfour, G., 327. 
Ballad, the, 103, 104, 146, I47- 
Ballad of Kynd Ktttok, The, 

see Dunbar. 
Balzac, H. de, 261. 
Bandello, M., 108, no, 113, 

122, 123, 125, 137, 360. 
Banim, J. and M., 214, 215. 
Banks, M. M., 357. 
Barbour, J., 87. 
Barlaam and Josaphat, 32, 

33. 60, 68, 353. 354- 
Bartoli, A., 358. 
Basil, legend of, see Aelfric. 
Batchelars Banquet, The, see 

Baudelaire, P. C, 264. 
Beast-epic, the, 52, 66, 90. 
Beckford, W., 202, 302. 
Bede, The Ecclesiastical His- 
tory, a 3SI. 
B6dier, T., 46, 355- 
Beers, H. A., 202, 362. 
Bcjjley, W., cd. of Nova 

Solyma, 157. 

Behn, A., 159, i62ff., 176, 182; 

Oroonoko, vii, i63ff.; The 

Lucky Mistake, 167. 
Beitrdge sur charakteristik 

Nathaniel Hawthorne's, see 

Bellay, J. du, 113. 
Belief orest, F. de, no, iii, 

ii3ff., 120, 121, 122, 123, 

124, 125, 126, 128, 360. 
Bell-the-cat, the, fable of, 39. 
Bembo, P., 109, in. 
Beowulf, The, 3. 
Bemers, Lord, trs. of Frois- 

sart, 103. 
Betty Brown, the St, Giles's 

Orange Girt, see More. 
Bibliotheca Normannica, see 

Bibliothek der Angelsdch- 

sischen Prosa, see Grein. 

Bidpai, fables of, 32. 

Bishop Percy's Folio MS., 

Blackborn, R., 159. 

Blackwood's Magazine, 213, 

248, 277, 363. 

Blickling Homilies, The, 8, 
28f!., 35f 

Bludy Serk, The, see Henry- 

Boccaccio, G., 46, 58, 69, loi, 
106, 108, III, 119, 122, 126, 
127, 172, 175, 176, 356; The 
Decameron, 69, 104, 108, 
no. III, 119, 127, 148, 149. 
158, 17s. 356, 359; Piam- 
metta, in. 

Boethius, De Consolatione, 
see AlJfred. 

Boke named the Governour, 
The, see Elyot 

Bond, R. W., 360. 

Book of the Knight of La 
Tour-Landry, The, see 

Book of the Short Story, 
The, see Jessup and Canby. 



Bourse Pleine de Sens, De 
la, see Jean le Galois. 

Bovcs, Jean de, 71. 

Box Tunnel, The, see Reade. 

Boyle, R., 161. 

Bozon, Nicole de, 32, 37S., 
48, 353, 354. 

Bracebridge Hall, see W. Ir- 

Branders, A., 357. 

Breton, N., 121, 127, 144, 146, 
152, 184, 360, 361. 

Breul, K, ^5. 

British Bibliographer, The, 

British Essayists, The, see 

Brown, A., 365. 
Brown, Dr. J., 273flF., 322. 
Browne, W., 173. 
Brut, The, see Layamon. 
Brydges, Sir S. E., 359. 
Buddhism, its relation to the 

exetnplum, 23S, 
Bulletin of Bibliography, 364, 

Bulwer, E., Lord Lytton, 

276ff., 363. 
Bunner, H. C, 316, 3i7ff. 
Bunyan, J., 162, 185, 252. 
Bums, R., 88, 91, 92. 
Bsrron, Lord, 64, 212, 225, 


Cable, G. W., 307. 319^-, 3^ 

Cambridge History of Eng- 
lish Literature, The, 358. 

Campbell. K, 353. 

Canby, H. S., 365. 

Candide, 193, 205. 

Canterbury Tales, The, see 

Canterbury Tales, Rendered 
into Familiar Verse, 176. 

Canute, story of, Englished 

by Robert of Gloucester, 

Carleton, R., 159. 

Carlyle, J. W., 244, 248. 

Carlyle, T., 224, 248. 

CassL, G. della, iii. 

Castiglione, B., io9ff., iii, 
112, 126, 134. 358. 

Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, 
Les, 106. 

Certain Tragical Discourses 
of Bandello translated into 
English by Ceffraie Fen- 
ton, see Douglas. 

Cervantes, M. de, 96, 159, 
165, 167, 168, 182. 

Chabaille, P., 355. 

Chaire Franqaise au Moyen 
Age, La, see Le Coy de la 

Chalmers, A., 362. 

Character-book, the, 29, 152, 

^155, 185. 

Chateau d Amour, see Grosse- 

Chaucer, G., as an imitator of 
the exemplum^ 27, 66 ; com- 
pared with Giower, 62, 63, 
04, 75; as a conservative, 
64ff., 356; as an innovator, 
68ff. ; Chaucer and the 
fabliau, 68ff., 82, 348, 356; 
Chaucer and the renais- 
sance, 64, 65, &;, 73ff. ; com- 
pared with Lydgate and 
Occleve, 82ff. ; compared 
with Henryson and Dun- 
bar, 90ff.; compared with 
Dryden, I73ff.; the Can- 
terbury tales in general, 
47. 67, 68, 93. 120, 233, 347. 
356; the Knight's tale, 6±, 
67; th^ Franldin's tale, ao, 
67; the Lawyer's tale, oj, 
67, 75; the Nun's Priests 
tale, 66, 83, 90. 93, 94. I74; 
the Reeve's Tale, 66, 71, 
100; the Merchant's tale, 



66. 68ff.; the Wffe of 
Bath's tale, 46, 63, ^, 
98. 174, 357; the Man- 
ciple's tale, 63; the Mill- 
er's tale, 47, 66; the 
Second Nun's tale, 66; the 
Prioress's tale, 66, 275; 
the Parson's tale, 66; the 
Monk's tale, 66; the Doc- 
tor's tale (of Virginia), 
66; the Qerk's tale (of 
Griselda), (fj, 75; the 
Squire's tale, 67; Chau- 
cer's tale (of Sir Thopas), 
67; Chaucer's tale of 
Melibeus), 66; the Ship- 
man's tale, 66; the Sum- 
moner's tale, 66, 71; the 
Friar's tale, 66; the Par- 
doner's tale, 66, 72; the 
Canon Yeoman's tale, 66; 
The Leginde of Good 
Women, 68, 87, 356; 
Troilus and Criseyde, 64, 
68, 89. 356 ; Chaucer's Mill- 
er, 46; Chaucer's Knight, 
47; bibilography, 356; see 
also 84, 8s. 87, 96. 103, 106, 
124, 125, 174, 245. 347, 348* 
349» 350. 
Chaucer: a bibliographical 

manual, see Hammond. 
Chaucer New Painted, see 

W. Painter. 
Cheap Repository Tracts, see 

Chefs-d'ceuvre des Conteurs 
Fran^ise avant La Fon- 
taine, see Louandre. 
Chettle, H., 121, 360. 
Childe Harold, see Byron. 
Chiles Dream of a Star, A, 

see Dickens. 
Chimes, The, see Dickens. 
Chops the Dwarf, see Dick- 
Chorle and the Bird, The, see 

Christ, W., 351. 
Christianity, its relation to 

the exemplum, 23E., 353. 
Christmas Carol, A., see 

Chronicle of England, A, see 


Chronicles of London Bridge, 
The, see Thomson. 

Church, literature of the, see 
conte dhfot, exemplum, re- 
ligious treatise, saints' le- 

Cinthio, 122. 

Citisen of the World, see 

Clapp, J. M., 361. 

Clarissa Harlowe, 125, 154. 

Cobb. P., 362, 363. 

Cobler of Canterburie, The, 

Coleridge, S. T.. 212, 225, 
227, 238, 239. 240. 

Collier, J. P., 360. 

Collins, W. W.. 276. 

Comparative Study of the 
^sopic Fable in Nicole 
Boson, A, see Harry. 

Complete Poems of George 
Gascoigne, see Hazlitt 

Complete Works of Geoffrey 
Chaucer, The, see Skeat 

Complete Works of Robert 
Greene, The, see Grosart. 

Complete Works of Thomas 
Lodge, The, see Gosse. 

Conant, M. P., 197, 200. 

Confessio Amantis, see John 

Congreve, W., 159, 160, i67flF.. 

Connoisseur, The, 193, 195. . 

Conrad, J., 323, 345. ' 

Constance, story of, 60, 63, 

Conte, the French, 106. 148, 

Conte d rire, see Fabliau. 



Cante 'divot, the» its nature 
and history, 4fiF., 36, 42, 
347i 351. 352; in Greek, 5!!., 

22, 25, 351 ; in Anglo-Sax- 
on, aS., 351, 352; in Middle 
English before Chaucer, 
loff., 26, 29, 33, S3* 352, 355 ; 
in France, 10, 11, 21, 22, 
352; used as an exemplum, 

23, 24; in Chaucer, 66; 
j^^ a^(7 ix, 60, 104, 357. 

Contes Maralisis, Les, see 

Contes Moralish de Nicole 

Boson, Les, see L. T. Smith 

and Meyer. 
Cony-o^ching stories, 66, 

141, i\4, 145. 
Cornhill Magazine, The, see 

Harte, and Stevenson. 
Courtier, The, see Castiglione. 
Courtlie Controversie of 

Cupid's Cautels, A, see 

Cousin Phillis, see Gaskell. 
Coverley, Sir Roger de, 181, 

188, 189, 222, 223. 
Cowell, R B., 353. 
Crab, fable of the, 354. 
Craddock, C. E., 364. 
Crane, T. F., 35^. 
Cricket on the Hearth, The, 

see Dickens. 
Croft, H. H. S., 359. 
Crooked Branch, The, see 

Cross, W. L., 202, 362. 
Croxall, S., 172. 
Cursor Mundi, 20, 31, 353. 
Cymon and Iphegenia, see 

Dryden and Boccaccio. 

Dame Siriz, 14, 30, 49if., 53, 

Dance of the Seven Deadly 

Sins, the, see Dunbar. 

Dane Joos, see Lydgate. 
Daniel Defoe: His Life and 

recently discovered Writ- 
ings, see W. Lee. 
Daudet, A., 316. 
Davis, R. H., 365. 
De Coverley papers, see Ad- 
Defoe, D., 164, 166, 168, 170, 

178, i84iff., 205, ^. 
Dekker, T., 11^ I49ff., 

Deland, M., 365. 
Deloney, T., 118, 121, i46fF., 

149, 18^ 360. 
Dennis Haggarty's Wife, see 

De Quincey, T., 213, 234, 259. 

Desp^riers, B., 106. 
Development of the English 

Novel, The, see Cross. 
Dial of Princes, The, see 

Dialogue, see Occleve. 
Dialogues, see Gregory the 

Diamond Lens, The, see 

Dickens, C, 265^., 271, 273, 

277, 280, 282, 284, 294ff.. 

Disciplina Clericalis, 32. 
Dr. Manette's Manuscript, 

see Dickens. 
Dr, Marigold, see Dickens. 
Dog who protected child, 

story of the, 32. 
Don Juan, see Byron. 
Doom of the Griffiths, The 

see Gaskell. 
Douglas, R. L., 360. 
Doyle, C, 365. 
Dragon Fang, The, see 

Drebler, A. R., 357. 
Drout, J., 127. 
Du Maurier, G., 341. 



Dunbar, W., 8i, 88, 97ff.» 

Dry den, J., 86, 159, i72ff.; 
compared with Chaucer, 
I73f!.; The Fables, 172ft., 

E. A., 359. 

Earl of Toulouse, The, 46, 

Earle, J., 152. 

Earlv English Text Society, 

publications of the, 351, 

352, 353. 354. 357. 

Eastern tale, the, see Orien- 
tal tale. 

Eastern tale collections, the, 
in the Middle Ages, 27, 32, 
35, 66; in the eighteenth 
century, 1960.; see also, 
the Oriental tale. 

Edgeworth, M., 197, 2ioff. 

Einstein, L. D., 358. 

Elene, The, 3 

Eliot, G., 26s, 271 ff, 273. 

Elizabethan drama, influence 
of fiction upon the, 122, 

123, 136, 143, 154. 
Elizabethan novella, the, see 

Elizabethan Prose Fiction, 

see Atkins. 
Elmendorf, H. L., 364. 
Eisner, W., 355. 
Elyot, Sir T., 119, 359. 
Emare, 46, 355. 
Emerson, R. W., 230, 250, 

Englische Studien, 355, 363. 
English Metrical Homilies, 

see Small. 
English Novel in the Time 

of Shakespeare, The, see 

English Literature from the 

Norman Conquest to Chau- 
cer, see Schofield. 

English Works of John 

Gower, The, see Macaulay. 
Esenwein, J. B., 364. 
Essays of Elia, The, see 

Essays Out of Hours, see 

Etienne de Besangon, see 
.Alfhabetum Narrationum, 
Etude sur Geoffrey Chaucer, 

see Sandras. 
Eugene Aram, see Hood. 
Euphues and his England, see 

Euphues, The Anatomy of 

Wit, see Lyly. 
Euphuism, no, 121, 122, 129, 

i30flF., 140, 142, 144. 148, I50» 

161, 169, 179, 321, 326, 348. 

350, 360. 
Euphuisimus, Der, see Land- 

Euralia et Lucretia, see Pic- 

Eve of St. Agnes, The, see 

Exempla of Jacques de Vitry, 

The, see Crane. 
Exemplary Novels, The, see 

Exemplum, the, its nature 

and history, 23fF., 347, 353; 

in Anglo-Saxon, 25ff., 353; 

in Middle English before 

Chaucer. 26ff.. 33, 35, 38. 

40. 47, 48, 53. 353 ; Gower's 
stones considered as ex- 
empla, 24, 6oflF.; Chaucer 
and the exemplum^ 24, 27, 
66 ; in Middle English after 
Chaucer, 79ff., 103, 357; 
see also 18, 49, 57, ^, 66, 
119, 171, 181. 

Fabeln der Marie de France, 

Die, see Wamke. 
Fable, the, absence from 



Anglo-Saxon, 3, 35 ; its na- 
ture, 23. 27, 34, 42, 43, 347 ; 
its history, 34ff., 353; in 
Middle English before 
Chaucer, 26, 34ff., 353, 354 ; 
in Henryson, SpflF. ; see 
also 57, 66, 79, 81, 83, 103. 

Fables of JEsop, see L'Es- 

Fables of JEsop, The, see 

Fables of Henryson, The, see 

Fabliau, the, used as an ex- 
emplum, 23; its nature, 43, 
46ff., 105, 347, 355 ; in Mid- 
dle English before Chau- 
cer, 26, 37, 49ff., 355; in 
Chaucer, 65, 66, 68ff., 105; 
in Middle English after 
Chaucer, gSff., 357; see 
also 18, 57, 60, 78, 105, 106, 
128, 149, 150, 169, 176, 350. 

Fabliau and Popular Litera- 
ture, The, see Hart. 

Fabliaux, Les, see B^dier. 

Fabula Duorum Mercatorum, 
see Lydgate. 

Fabulistes Latins, Les, see 

Faill, Noel du, 106. 

Fair-Haired Eckbert, The, 
see Tieck. 

Fantomina; or Love in a 
Maze, see Haywood. 

Farewell to Folly, see Greene. 

Faust, 22S. 

Female Spectator, The, see 

Fenton, G., 74, 107, 120, I23ff., 
128, 129, 130, 132, 138, 142, 
145, 151. 153, 358, i6o. 

Ferdinando Jeronimi and 
Leonora de Velasco, see 

Fichte, J. G., 228. 

Fielding, H., 154, 172, 188, 


Flaubert, G., 266, 325. 
Flower of Friendship, The, 

see Tilney. 
Ford, E., 118, 144, 151, 157, 

161, 360. 
Forest or Collection of His- 

toryes. The, see Fortcscue. 
Forget-me-not, The, 214, 247. 
Forrest of Fancy, see H. C. 
Forster, J., biographer of 

Dickens, 295. 
Fortescue, T., 359. 
Fouque, R, 224, 228. 
Foure Straunge, Lamentable, 

and Tragical Histories, see 

Fox with many tricks, fable 

of the, 354. 
Frankenstein, see Mrs. Shel- 
Freeman, Mrs. M. Wilkins, 

see Wilkins. 
Freine, Le, 46, 355. 
Freiris of Berwik, The, see 

French Nouvelle in England, 

The, see Qapp. 
Friendship's Offering, 214, 

Froissart, see Bemers. 
Fumivall, F. J., 352, 357. 
Furseus, story of, see Bedc. 

Galland, A., trs. of The Ara- 
bian Nights, 158, 197, 201. 

Galois, Jean de, 52. 

Garnett, R., 362. 

Gascoigne, G., 118, 120, 127, 
128, 130, 131, 142, 145. 

Gaskell Mrs. E. C, 265, 272ff., 
274, 282, 322. 

Gaspary, A., 358. 

Gautier, T., iiSi. 

Gay, J., 90. 

Gentle Craft, The, see Dc- 



Gentleman's Journal, The, 

178, 179. 
German romanticism, 224ft., 

228ff., 247ff., 362, 363. 
Gerould, G. H., 352. 
Gervase of Tilbury, 67. 
Gesch. der Griech. Lift, bis 

auf die Zeit Justinians, see 

Geschichte der Italienischen 

Litteratur, see Gaspary. 
Gesta Romanorum, 40, 79S., 

82, 85, 86, 120, 357. 
Gibbs, R., 159. 
Gifford, H., 359. 
Giovanni Fiorentini, 122. 
Goblet, The, see Tieck. 
Godwin, W., 209. 
Golden Ass, The, see Apu- 

Golden Epistles, see Guevara. 
Goldsmith, O., 189, 196, 201. 
Gombert et des Deux Clercs, 

De, see Jean de Boves. 
"Good story," the, 3, 11, 50, 

53, 148. 

Goodrich, N. L., 364. 

Gosse, E. W., 361. 

Goulart, S., 359. 

Gowcr, John, 58ff. ; as a 
writer of exempla, 24, 6oflf. ; 
compared with Chaucer, 
62ff., 75; Confessio Aman- 
tis, 24, 58ff., 66, 356; see 
also 84, 97. 

Grace Abounding, see Bun- 

Graham's Magazine, 239. 

Grand Cyrus, The, 165. 

Grande Pointe, see Cable. 

Greek literature, the legend 
in, 5; the conte divot in, 
5ff-» 25, 351; the literary 
myth in, 5ff., 351; the ex- 
emplum in, 25; the fable 
in, 25; the apologue in, 25, 

Greene, R., 114, 118, 121, 125, 

126, 131, 132, I39ffv 145, 
147, 151. 153. 157, 360, 301. 

Greenes Mourning Garment, 
see Greene. 

Gregory in the Rock, 17. 

Gregory the Great, 7, 8, 25, 

^I99» 351. 

Grein, C. W. M., 351, 353. 

Grenadine, S., 159. 

Grey Woman, The, see Gas- 

Grimestone, R, 359. 
Grosart, A. B., 360, 361. 
Grosseteste, R., 66. 
Gruener, G., 363. 
Guardian, The, 190, 200. 
Guest, Lady C., 354. 
Guevara, A. de, no, 126, 358. 
Guiscardo and Ghismonda, 

119; see also Boccaccio. 
Guls Horn-Book, see Dck- 



H. C, 359. 

Hale, R R, 281, 285ff., 290. 
292, 315. 

Halliwell, J. O., 357, 361. 

Hamilton, C, 364. 

Hammond, E. P., 356. 

Handbook of morality, see 
Religious treatise. 

Handlyng Synne, see Robert 
of Brunne. 

Harper's Magazine, 282. 

Harper's Weekly, 2S2, 

Harry, P., 38, 354- 

Hart, W. M., 355, 356. 

Harte, F. B., as advertiser 
of the American short 
story, 288fiF. ; his services in 
the development of the 
modem short story, 289^., 
297, 298, 306, 319; his in- 
debtedness to Dickens, 
294ff . ; his place in the his- 
tory of the short story* 



297ff.f 306, 319; The Luck 
of Roaring Camp, 288, 290, 
291, 293, 29s, 302, 306; 
The Outcasts of Poker 
Flat, 289, 291, 293, 294, 
29s; Tennessee's Partner, 
291, 293; Mliss, 291, 293, 
364 ; Unser Karl, 295 ; The 
Desborough Connections, 
295 ; The Rise of the Short 
Story (in The Cornhill 
Magasine), 289, 296, 315; 
see also 219, ^7, 281, 2&^ 
286, 299, 309, 315, 320, 332, 

Havelock, 43. 

Hawkesworth, J., 191, 192, 

195, 199, 201. 
Hawk's nest, fable of the, 

, 37ff., 353. 354. 
Hawthorne, N., as a writer 

of the school of the an- 
nuals, 246fiF.; his debt to 
the Germans, 247ff., 363; 
resemblance to Sterling, 
2^8; his personality and its 
effect upon his work, 248^. ; 
his Puritanism, 25 iff. ; his 
narrative art, 252ff. ; his 
chief excellencies, 258ff. ; 
his services to the short 
story, 26off.; his choice of 
situations for his stories, 
26iff. ; The Twice-Told 
Tales, 247, 252, 257, 261; 
The American Note-Books, 
2^7, 249, 252, 253, 25s, 257. 
261 ; Mosses from an Old 
Manse, 249; Legends of 
the Province House, 257; 
Alice Boone's Appeal, 246; 
The Prophetic Pictures, 
^7. 363; The Antique 
Ring, 248; The Birthmark, 
250. 2«ff., 258, 261 : Ethan 
Brand, 251, 253, 200, 281; 
Rappaccini's Daughter, 

253, 262; The Seven Vaga- 

bonds, 255; The Artist of 
the Beautiful, 257; The 
White Old Maid, 257 ; The 
Hollow of the Three Hills, 
257 ; The Great Stone Face, 
258, 281; The Ambitious 
Guest, 258, 26off.; Howe's 
Masquerade, 261 ; The 
Gray Chamtion, 262; see 
also 215, 216, 239, 264, 26S, 
281, 282, 284. 285, 286, 287. 
288, 289, 290, 308, 309, 31Q, 
318, 324ff., 327, 339. 

Haywood, E., 159, 168, i69ff., 
176, 177, 188. 

Hazlitt, W. C, 357. 358, 360. 

Heath's Book of Beauty, 215. 

Heine, H., 228. 

Heliodorus, 360. 

Henrisone's Fabeldichtungen, 
see Drebler. 

Henry, O.. 317, 345. 

Henryson, R., 36, 81, 88ff., 
99. 100, 103, 166, 34i8, 357. 

Heptameron, The, see Mar- 
garet of Navarre. 

Heptameron of Civill Dis- 
courses, The, see Whet- 

Hermit, story of a, from the 
Vit(B Patrum, 6, 9. 

Herodotus, 122. 

Her rigs Archiv, 352. 

Herrtage, S. J., 357. 

Hervieux, L., 353. 

Hewlett, M., 323, 330, 344ff. 

Hieroglyphic Tales, see Wal- 

Htstoire de la Littirature 
Francaise, see Lanson. 

Hist, Litt. de la France, see 

Histoires Tragiques, see 

Historic of Squyer Mel- 
drum, The, see Lyndsay. 

" History," the, see the Eliza- 
bethan novella. 



History and Reality of Ap- 
paritions, The, see Dcfoc. 

History of Early Italian Lit- 
erature to the Death of 
Dante, The, see Gaspary. 

History of English Poetry, 
see Warton. 

History of English Roman- 
ticism in the Eighteenth 
Century, A,, see Beers. 

History of English Roman- 
ticism tn the Nineteenth 
Century, A, see Beers. 

Hoby, Sir T., trs. of The 
Courtier, 109, 358. 

Hocdeve, see Occleve. 

Hoccleve^s Works, The Mi- 
nor Poems, see Fumivall. 

HofiFman, £. T. A., 226, 229, 
230, 247. 

Hook, T. E., 213. 

Hood, T., 213, 225, 240, 244. 
285, 335. 

Horct Suhseciva, see Dr. J. 

Horstmann, C, 12, ^52, 353. 

Hotel de Rambouillet, the, 

Hound and the donkey, fable 

of the, 354. 
House and the Brain, The, 

see Bulwer. 
Housse Partie,La, 31, 47. 
Howells, W. D., 310. 
Humanism, the literature of, 

Hundred Mery Talys, A, 119, 

ish 358. 

Hunt, L., 213. 


Idler, The, see Johnson. 

Incognita f or Love and Duty 
Reconctfd, see G)ngreve. 

Indicator, The, see Hunt 

Influence of E, T. A. Hod- 
man on the Tales of Edgar 
Allan Foe, see G>bb. 

Irving, P. M., 232. 

Irving, W., 213, 217, 2i8ff., 
226, 232* 238, 260, 261, 264, 
286, 320, 349. 

Italian Renaissance in Eng- 
land, The, see Einstein. 

Jacobs, T., 121, 353. 
acobs, W. W., 365. 
Jacobs Well, 357- 

James I. of Scotland, 88. 
ames, H., as a master of the 
story of situation, 307!!.; 
as realist, 309ff . ; as pioneer, 
3i3ff.; his defects, 3146.; 
The Wings of the Dove, 
308; Stories Revived, 308; 
The Turn of the Screw, 
308, 310, 311, 3i2flF.; The 
Real Thing, 308, 311. 312; 
A Passionate Pilgrim, 311; 
The Madonna of the Fu- 
ture, 31 iff.; The Great 
Good Place, 313; see also 
271, 272. 287. 339, 346. 364. 
Jatakas, The, 7, 25» 32, W 

Jean de Boves, 71, 356. 
Jean le Galois, 52, 356. 
Jereslaus, story of the wife 

of, see Occleve. 

Jessup, A., 365. 
est-book, the, 104, 119, 141, 

145, 148, isi. 358. 

Jewett, S. O., 365. 

Johnson, S., 183, I90ff., 196, 
I99» 200, 203, 209. 

Jonathas, story of, see Oc- 

Journal of the Plague Year, 
A, see Defoe. 

Jumping Frog of Calaveras 
County, The, see Twain. 

Jusserand, J. J., 118, 157, 35& 




Keats, J., 212, 225, 227, 238> 

239. 333' _. 
Keepsake, The, 215, 210. 

King accused of too much 
meeloiess, story of the, 33. 

King's Quair,^ The, see James 

Kingsley, H., 277ff., 322, 363. 

Kipling, R., as typical of con- 
temporai^ short story writ- 
ers, 330, 344ff . ; as a master 
of local color, 33iff» 335; 
his technique, 333ff.; as a 
journalist, 334"^ 34^; his 
humor, 335ff.; his pathos, 
336; his studies of charac- 
ter, 336ff.; his achievement 
in the short storv, 34off.; 
his service to the short 
story, 346 ; Plain Tales from 
the Hills, 278, 33iff., 35o; 
Soldiers Three, 33iff. ; 
Stalky & Co,, 331; The 
Courting of Dinah Shadd, 
332, 336; Wireless, 333, 
339; The Taking of Lung- 
tungpen, 333ff.; On Green- 
how Hill, 334; ,007, 334. 
339 ; From Sea to Sea, 334 ; 
My Lord the Elephant, 
3j6; Without Benefit of 
Clergy, 303, 33^; The 
Jungle Books, 337, 339; The 
Man Who Would be King, 
338, 339; The Man Who 
Was, 339; The Drums of 
the Fore and Aft, 339; 
Mrs, Bathurst, 340 ; The 
Captive, 340; The Com- 
prehensions of Private 
Copper, 340; The Brush- 
wood Boy, 340ff. ; They, 
220, ^. 340, 341 ff» 350 ; 
An Habitation Enforced, 
311; see also 219, 275, 278, 
323, 350, 364- 


ipling 1 

Primer, A, see 

Knight who forgave his ene- 
mies, story of the, 19. 

Knowles, F. L., 364. 

Kolbing, £., 52, 355. 

KoeppeT, £., 128. 

Kugelspieler, Der, see Thom- 

L. E. L., see Landon. 

Ladies' Magazine, The, 189. 

Lady, or The Tiger? The, 
see Stockton. 

Ladyfs Monthly Museum, 
The, 210. 

Lai, the, its nature and his- 
tory, 42ff ., 347, 354 ; in Mid- 
dle English before Chau- 
cer, 4^ff., 354, 355 ; in Chau- 
cer, 67, 354; see also xiii, 

57. 176, 355. 357. . 

La Fayette, Mme. de, 159, 

La Fontaine, J. de, 90, 92, 94, 

Laing, D., editor of Henry- 
son, 90. 

Lamb, C, 21^, 214, 259, 282. 

Lament for the Death of the 
Makaris, The, see Dunbar. 

Landmann, E., 360. 

Landon, L. £., 214, 215, 227, 

Lange, A. F., 361. 

Langland, W., 57, 97- 
Lanson, G., 92, 96. 
Lathrop, G. P., 363. 
Latin Stories, A Selection of, 

see Wright. 
Laughing Horseman, The, 

see Thomson. 
Layamon, 414, 355. 
Lagarillo de Tomes, 141. 
Lc Qerc, J. V., 71- 



Le Coy de la Marche, A, 


Lee, W., 186. 

Le Gallienne, R., 364. 

Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 
The, see W. Irving. 

Legenda Aurea, 14. 

L'Estrange, Sir R., 179. 

Lettres de mon Moulin, see 

Lewis, M. G., 225. 

Liberal Lover, The, see Cer- 

Life and Adventures of Mr, 
Duncan Campbell, The, see 

Life and Death of William 
Longbeard, see Lodge. 

Life of Irving, see P. M. 

Life of Robert Louis Steven- 
son, see Balfour. 

Literary m3rth, the, sff., 15, 
60, 351. 

Littirature Frangaise au 
Moyen Age, see Paris. 

Livy, T., 122. 

Local color in the short story, 

3i8ff., 33iff- 
Lodge. T., 144, 145, 157, 161, 

359» 360. 
London Magazine, The, 213. 
Longfellow, H. W., 289. 
Louandre, C., 358. 
Lounger, The, 193, 19$. 
Lounsbury, T. R., 65, 356. 
Love in Old Cloathes, see 

Lucky Mistake, The, see 

Lydgate, J., 79. 81 ff., 85, 86, 

87, 88, 90, 357. 
Lyiy. J-. 74. ii4» "6, 118, 121, 

125, 126, 130, 131, 132, I35» 

I36ff., 140, 143, I44» 151. 

153; Euphues, vii, 122, 131, 

i36flF., 142, 153, 162, 360. 
Lyndsay, Sir D., 100, 357. 


McKerrow, R. B., 36a 

McKnight, G. H., 355. 

MacCracken, H. N., 357. 

Mabinogion, The, 44, 354. 

Macaulay, G. C, 356. 

Machiavelli, N., 109. 

Madame B ovary, see Flau- 

Madden, Sir R, 355. 

Madonna of the Peach Tree, 
The, see Hewlett. 

Matzner, E., 355. 

Mall, E., 353. 

Malory. Sir T., 103. 

Man Without a Country, The, 
see ' Hale. 

Manley, Mrs. Mary, 159, 
i68ft., 176, 177, 188. 

Mantuano, G. B., 112. 

Manuel des Pechies, see Wil- 
liam of Wadington. 

MS. Lambeth, 487, 26, 353, 

Map, W., 46, 67. 

Marcus Aurelius, see Gue- 

Margaret of Navarre, 106, 
122, 359. 

Margery Daw, see Aldrich. 

Mane of France, 63, 162; 
fables, 31, 35, 36ff., 553. 354; 
lais, 44ff., 355; fabliaux, 

48, 353. 

Martin, E., 355. 

Mary-story, the, its nature 
and history, 15, 352; in 
An^lo- Saxon, 8. 15, 26; in 
Latin, II, 15; in French, 
II. 15; in Middle English 
before Chaucer, i4ff., 18, 
20. 33, 352; in Chaucer, 66; 
see also 84. ijo. 

Matchless Orinda. the. 162. 

Materials and Methods of 
Fiction, see Hamilton. 

Matthews, B., 237, 300. 364- 




Maupassant, G. de, 43, 275, 

287, 303, 310, 3i2» 317- 
Maxwell, W. H., 362. 
Menaphon, see Greene. 
M6on, M. D. M., 51, 355. 
Meredith, G, 314, 322. 
Merimee, P., 261. 
Merry Wives of Windsor, 

The, 129. 
Messia, P., 359. 
Metrical Romances, see 

Meyer, P., 38, 353. 354- 
Middle English Vox and the 

Wolf, The, see McKnight. 
Miller, T., 351. 
Miller of Abyngdon, The, 71, 

Milly Dove, see O'Brien. 

Miracles of Mary, the, see 

Mirror, The, 193, 195. 
Miseries of Mavilia, The, 

Mr. and Mrs, Frank Berry, 

see Thackeray. 
Misfs Journal, see Defoe. 
Mitford, M. R., 2i7ff., 225, 

Modern Characters Illustrat- 
ed by Histories in Real 

Life, 362. 
Modern Philology, 352. 
Montaiglon et Raynaud, Re- 

cueil, 3^. 
Monthly Miscellany, The, 190. 
Moral Tales, see Edge worth. 
Moore, T., 137. 
More, H., 203ff., 209. 
Morley, H., 356. 
Morris, R., 353, 354. 
Morte D' Arthur, see Malory. 
Morton, J., 353. 
Motteux, P. A., 178. 
Much Ado About Nothing, 

Murfree, see Craddock. 

Murray, J. A. H., 357-» 

Mussafia, A., 352. 

My Aunt Margarefs Mirror, 
see Scott. 

My Double and How He Un- 
did Me, see Hale. 


Nash, T., 121, 140, i44fF., 184, 

360, 361. 
New English Dictionary, The, 

New Shakespeare Society, 

publications of the, 360. 
Nightingale, fable of the, 83, 


Nightmare Abbey, see Pea- 

Non-Dramatic Works of 
Thomas Dekker, see Gro- 

North, T., 358. 

North-English Homily Col- 
lection, The, see Gferould. 

Northern Homilies, The, 20ff ., 
31, 33. 64, 352. 353. 

Nova Solyma, see W. Beg- 

Novel, the short novel of the 
seventeenth century, I56ff., 
177, 178, 348; the Gothic 
novel, 202, 209, 210, 212, 
222, 225, 276. 

Novelette, the, 161, 211, 267, 

Novella, the (Italian), its 
nature and history, 104!!., 
348, 356, 358; see also vii, 
40, 119, 120, 122, 123, 126, 
127, 128, 130, 131, 136, 141, 
142, 143. 145. 147. 148, 149. 
150, 152, 154. 161, 162, 166, 

176, 359. 
Novella, the (general term), 
used as an exemplum, 23; 
its nature, 47, 49, 356; in 
Chaucer, 66, 67, 72; the 
Elizabethan novella, 74, 84, 



io8, ii7ff.» 157. 161, 169, 
170, 171, 348, 358, 359, 360, 
361 ; see also 81, 82, 89, 188, 

198, ZiSf 355- 
Novella and Related Varieties 

of the Short Narrative in 

English, The, 351. 
Novelle, German use of the 

word, 356. 
Novellino, The, 104. 
Novels and Tales of Henry 

James, see James. 
Novels by Eminent Hands, 

see Thackeray. 
Nugis Curialium, see Walter 


O'Brien, Fitz- James, 281 ff., 

292, 297, 309. 
Observer, The, 195. 
Occleve, T., 81, M-, 88, 90. 

Odo of Cheriton, 2Sfi., 35, 

37f 38. 353. 
Oesterley, H., 357, 358. 
O'Hara Tales, The, see 

Old Creole Days, see Cable. 
Old English Homilies, see 

MS. Lambeth, 487. 
One Hundred Good Short 

Stories, see Elmendorf and 

Oriental tale, the, 49, 50, 66, 

180, 182, 189, 190, 192, i96ff., 

355; ^^^ <i^o Eastern tale 

Oriental Tale in England in 

the Eighteenth Century, 

The, see Conant. 
Oroonoko, see Behn. 
Orpheus and Eurydice, see 

Otia Imperialia, see Gervase 

of Tilbury. 
Ott, J. H., 351. 

Our Brown Passenger, see 

Our Village, see Mitford. 
Overbury, Sir T., 152. 
Overland Monthly, The, see 

Ovid, 6, 60, 61, 172. 
Owl and the Nightingale, 

The, 37ff., 354. 

Painter, W., 107, 118, 120, 

I2iff., 126, 148. 359. 
Painter, W., Chaucer New 

Painted, 173. 
Palace of Morgiana, The, see 

Palace of Pleasure, The, see 

Palastra, 361. 
Pandosto, see Greene. 
Pan's Syrinx, see Warner. 
Paradise Lost, 137. 
Paris, G., 352. 
Parismus, see Ford. 
Parley the Porter, see More. 
Peacock. T. L., 212, 331. 
Pearl, The, 57. 
Pemberton, T. E., biographer 

of Harte, 295. 
Penelopes Web, see Greene. 
Pennyworth of Witte, A, 52, 

Percy Society, publications of 

the, 353. 357. 361. 
Pericles, prologue to, 58. 
Periodical short story, the, 

i8off., 204, 318, 348. 
Perry, Bliss, 364. 
Perymedes the olacke-Smith, 

see Greene. 
Peter Ibbetson, see Du Mau- 

Peter Ruga, see Austin. 
Petite Pallace of Pettie his 

Pleasure, A, see Pettie. 
Petrarch, F., 112, 



Pcttic, G., 74* i«>. i^. ^30, 
131, 132, I33ff., 136, 138* 

139, isi. 153. 360. 

Peur, La, see Maupassant. 
Phaednis, 35. 

Phil Fogarty, see Thackeray. 
Philomela, see Greene. 
Philosophy of the Short- 
story, The, see Matthews. 
Picaresque story, the, 141, 

144, 14s,. ISO, 154. 360. 

Piccolomini, A. S., 112. 
Pickwick Papers, The, see 

Piers Plainnes Seaven Veres 

Prentiship, see Chettle. 
Pilgrim* s Progress, 153, 162, 

Pilgrims to the shrine of 

St. James, story of, I3ff., 


Placidas, story of, see Riche. 

Planetomachia, see Greene. 

Plutarch, 122. 

Poe, E. A., as a writer of 
the school of the annuals, 
227ff. ; his debt to the Ger- 
mans, 228ff., 363; as a 
transcendentalist, 23off. ; 
effect of his American en- 
vironment, 23 iff.; his in- 
vention of the modern 
short story, 233ff. ; his ra- 
tiocinative stories, 241 ff. ; 
the content of his stories, 
242ff.; his taste, 243ff.; his 
humor, 244,-^ Tales of the 
Grotesque ahd Arabesque, 
220; The Cask of Amontil- 
lado, 220, 231* 241, 243 ; The 
Fall of the House of 
Usher, 229, 231, 237. 241. 
242, 243, 302; Ligeta, 231. 
235, 241, 242; The Masque 
0/ the Red Death, 231, 302; 
The MS. Found in a Bot- 
tle, 233ff-. 236, 237: Bere- 
nice, 235ff.; Morella, 2y}, 

235> 242, 244; EUanora, 
23s, 242; The Black Cat, 
241; The Murders in the 
Rue Morgue, 241; The 
Gold-Bug, 241, 270; The 
Purloined Letter, 241, 212; 
The Assignation, 243 ; Ivil- 
liam Wilson, 243 ; Dr. Tarr 
and Prof. F ether, 244; 
The Domain of Amheim, 
243; see also 43, 210, 213, 
215, 216, 219, 2^, 246, 247, 
251, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 
261, 262, 20^, 267, 268, 270, 
271, 275, 276, 277, 279. 281, 
282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 
289, 290, 291, 293, 300, 302, 
309, 313. 319, Z2Z, 327, 334, 

Poems and Fables of Robert 
Henryson, The, see G. G. 

Poems and Stories of Fits- 
James O'Brien, The, see 

Poems of William Dunbar, 
The, see Small. 

Poggio, 173. 

Political Songs of England 
from the reign of John to 
that of Edward II, see 

Pollard, A., 3^. 

Pontano, G. G., 112. 

Poor Relation's Story, The, 
see Dickens. 

Poore, Bishop R., see Ancren 

Popular Tales, see Edge- 

Pound of flesh, story of the, 

Poushkin, A., 261. 

Power of Love: in Seven 
Novels, The, see Manley. 

Pricke of Conscience, the, 
see Richard Rolle. 

Primi due Secole delta Lit* 



teratura Italiana, see Bar- 

Princess of Cleves, The, see 

La Fayette. 
Promos and Cassandra, see 

Prose Fiction: A Bibliogra- 
phy, see Goodrich. 
Publications of the Modem 

Language Association of 

America, 3S5» 356, 358, 363. 
Punch's Prise Novelists, see 

Purgatory of St. Patrick, 

The, 199. 
P3rffinalion, story of» see 



Quellen und Forschungen, 

3S7, 359. „.,, 
Quevedo, see Villegas. 


Rab and his Friends, see Dr. 

J. Brown. 
Radcliffe, A. W.. 225. 
Raleigh, W., 202, 358. 
Rambler, The, igoff., 193, 

194, 195, 199, 202. 223; see 

also Johnson. 
Rasselas, 200, 202; see also 

Ravens Almanacke, The, see 

Reade» C, 277ff. 
Red Gauntlet, see Scott. 
Reeve's Tale: A Compara- 
tive Study of Chaucer's 

Narrative Art, see Hart. 
Reflective story, the, its 

nature, 23. 
Regement of Princes, The, 

see Occleve. 
Reichter and his Staghounds, 

see Thomson, 

Religious treatises, see Hand- 
lyng Synne, The Northern 
Homilies, The Pricke of 
Conscience, The Ayenbite 
of Inwyt, the Ancren 
Riwle; see also 21. 

Remains of the Early Popu- 
lar Poetry of England, see 

Restituta, see Brydges. 

Richardson, S., 153, 172, 188, 
189, 245. 

Riche, B., I27ff., 131, 132, 141, 

Riche his Farewell to Mili- 
tarie profession, see Riche. 

Rinaldo and Giletta, The Dis- 
course of, see Whetstone. 

Ring of Amurath, The, see 

Rip Van Winkle, 218, 219. 
220, 221; see also W. 

Ritson, J., 355. 

Robene and Makyne, see 

Roberd of Brunne, see Robert 
of Brunne. 

Robert of Brunne, 17 ff., 21, 

31, 53. 58, 63, 64, 80, 352. 
Roberts, £., 214, 216, 223, 

a37. 247. 
Robinson Crusoe, 153, 184, 

Rocke of Regard, Tht, see 

Rohde, E., 356. 
Rolle, Richard, 20. 
Roman du Renart, Le, 51, 


Roman literature, the literary 
myth in, 6, 351. 

Romance, the, used as an ex- 
emplum, 23; the short ro- 
mance, 42S., 78k 355; the 
Greek romance, 114; in 
Chaucer, 67; in the Eliza- 
bethan period, 141^.^ 147, 



148, 152; in the seven- 
teenth century, 157, 160, 
161, 165; see also 81, 103, 
IG4, 121, 128, 154. 
Romaunt of the Rose, The, 

83, 97. 
Romische Litteratur Ge- 

schichte, see Schanz. 

Romulus, The, 34, 35, 353. 

Ronsard, P. de, 113. 

Rosalynde, see Lodge. 

Rousseau, T. J., 164. 

Rudyard Kipling: A Criti- 
cism, see Le Gallienne. 

Runenherg, The, see Tieck. 

Ruth, The Book of, 275. 

St Cecile, legend of, 66. 
St. James the Great, legend 

of, see The South — English 

Sainte-Beuve, C. A., 233. 
Saints' legend, the Sistem 

and Western varieties, 7; 

see also The South-English 

Legendary and 21, 67, 77, 

Saintsbury, G. E. B., 132, 


Sandras, 'A, G., 72. 

Sandmann, Der, see Hoff- 

Sannazaro, J., 112. 

Scarron, P., 159, 182. 

Scenes of Clerical Life, see 

Schanz, M., 351. 

Schelling, F. W. J. von, 228. 

Schleich, G., 357. 

Schonbach, A., ^63. 

Schofield, W. H., 352, 354. 

355, 357. 
Schoolmaster, The, see As- 


Scotland, renaissance fiction 

in, 361. 

Scott, M. A., 358. 

Scott, Sir W., 212, 2i6fF., 2i8» 
221, 224, 22s, 226, 27s, 361. 

Scudcry, M. de, 153, 161, 162. 

Secret history, the, 158^ 169, 

Segrais, see La Fayette. 

Selection of Latin Stories, 
A, see Wright. 

Select Pieces of Early Popu- 
lar Poetry, see Utterson. 

Seven Sages, The, 32, 48, 50, 

^67, 68, 353. 

Shakespeare, W., 92, 96, 116, 

130, 135. 136. 

Shakespeare Jest-Books, see 

Shakespeare's Library, see 

Shelley, Mrs. M., 214, 216, 
227, 247. 

Shelley, P. B., 212, 225. 

Shepheard's Pipe, The, see 

Shepherd of Salisbury Plain, 
The, see More. 

Short Sixes, see Bunner. 

Short story, the, its general 
nature, viiff., 301; Irving 
and the modem variety of, 
2i9ff. ; Poe's invention of 
the modem variety of, 
2J3ff.. 302, 349; impres- 
sionism in, 239ff., 272, 279, 
3ooff., 346; a situation as 
nucleus for, 261 ff., 287ff., 
302ff., ^08, 346, 362; man- 
qui, 26s, ^, 279, 305; 
nature of the modem vari- 
ety of, 299fF. ; technique of 
the modem variety of, 
302fF., 364; the climax in 
the modern variety of, 303 ; 
tone in the modern variety 
of, 303ff. ; classification of 
contemporary examples of, 
304ff. ; joumalism and the 
modem short story, 338; 



defects and future of the 
modern variety of, 349ff. ; 
see also 364, 365. 

Short-Story, Its Principles 
and Structure, The, see 

Sidney, Sir P., 144; The Ar- 
cadta, 122. 

Sigismonda and Guiscardo, 
see Dryden and Boccaccio. 

Signal-Alan, The, see Dick- 

Silva, see Messia. 

Sir Amadace, 355. 

5i> Cleges, 355. 

Sir Dagarre, 46, 355. 

Sir Gowther, 46, 3^5. 

Sir Launfal, see Thomas of 

Skeat, W. W., 3Sh 356. 

5f> Orfeo, 44ff., 355. 

Sketch Book, The, see W. 

Sketches by Boz, see Dickens. 

Small, J., 352. 357- 

Smith, G. G., 357. 

Smith, L. T., 353, 354- 

Smollett, T. G., 189. 

Smyth, R., 359. 

Song on the Times, A, see 

Sorrows of Werther, The, 

South-English Legendary, 
The, I2ff., 48, 49, 352. 

Spanish literature, influence 
upon English of, no, in, 
114, IIS, 131. 158, 167. 170, 
358, 360. 

Spanish Literature in Eng- 
land of the Tudor s, see 

Spectator, The, 169, 171, 
i8off., 187, 188, 190, 192, 
199, 200, 222, 223, 362. 

Spence, F., 159. 

Staff filled with gold, story 
of the, 48. 

Steele, Sir R., 171, 178^ 188. 

Stephen, L., 198. 

Sterne, L^ 189. 

Sterling, jf., 224, 226, 229, 248. 

Stevenson, R. jL, French in- 
fluence upon, 321 ff.; as 
moralist, 324ff.; as Euphu- 
ist, 326fF.; services to the 
short story, 3^ff. ; A Lodg- 
ing for the Night, 322,32$; 
Will 0' the Mill, 322, 325. 
326; The Sire de Mali- 
troifs Door, 322, 324. 325. 
326; The Strange Case of 
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, 
324; Markheim, 303, 325; 
The Merry Men, 325, 327; 
Providence and a Guitar, 
32s; Prince Otto, 326; see 
also 96, 275. 

Stockton, F. R., 3i6fF. 

Stories of Waterloo, see 

Strange Fortune of Two Ex- 
cellent Princes, The, see 

Straparola, G. F., 122. 

Studien su den Mittelalter- 
lichen Marienlegenden, see 

Studien sur Geschichte der 
Italienischen Novelle, see 

Studies in Chaucer, see 

Study of Prose Fiction, A, 
see Perry. 

Study of the Romance of the 
Seven Sages, A, see Camp- 

Suchier, H,, 353, 355. 

System of Magic, A, see De- 

Tale for a Chimney Comer, 
A, see Hunt 



Tales of a Traveller, The, see 

W. Irving. 
Tales of a JVayside Inn, The, 

see Longfellow. 
Tales of Fashionable Life, 

see Edgeworth. 
Tales of the Seven Deadly 

Sins being the Confessio 

Amantis of John Cower, 

see Morlcy. 
Tapestried Chamber, The, 

see Scott. 
Tarltons Newes out of Pur- 
gatory, 149, 360. 
Tatler, The, 169, 171, 178, 

i8off., 187, 190, 201, 223. 
Taylor, J., 184. 
Temple Bar, see Stevenson. 
Tennyson, A, 238. 
Term Catalogues, The, see 

Terribly Strange Bed, A, see 

Testament of Cresseid, see 

Thackeray, W. M., 259, 265, 

27off., 273. 
Theodore and Honoria, see 

Dryden and Boccaccio. 
Theophilus, story of, 8, 15, 
. 26. 

Thomas of Chestre, 46, 355. 
Thomson, R., 22 iff., 224. 
Thorpe, B., 351. 
Three dskets, story of the, 

33, 47. 
Tieck, L., 224, 228, 230, 238, 

Tilney, E., 11 1, 358. 
"'Tis all for the Best," see 

Titus and Gisippus, 119, 127; 

see also Boccaccio. 
Token, The, 215, 247. 
Tom Jones, 125, 144, 154, 


Tragical Discourses, see Fen- 

Tragical Tales, see Turber- 

Translations from the Italian, 

see M. A. Scott. 
Trollope, A., 265, 273. 
Ttia Mariit Wemen and the 

Wedo, see Dunbar. 
Tullies Love, see Greene. 
Turbervile, G., 124, 350. 
Twain, Mark, 315, 318. 
Two brethren and their 

wives, story of, see Riche. 
Two Shoemakers, The, see 



Vber die Quellen der Heil- 

igenleben in Mlfric's Lives 

of Saints, see Ott. 
Underbill, J. G., 358. 
Undine, see Fouqu6. 
Unfortunate Traveler, or The 

Life of Jacke Wilton, The, 

see Nash. 
Unnatural Father, The, see 

Utterson, E. V., 355- 

Varnhagen, H., 361. 

Vathek, see Beckford. 

Verhandlungen der dreissig- 
sten Versammlung, Deut- 
schen, Phil. u. Scnul, $$6. 

Vierteljahrsschrift fUr Kult. 
u. Litt. der Ren., 359. 

Villegas, F. G. de, 150. 

I, The, 

^^^ ' — — — 

Vision of Mirsa, 


Vita Patrum, sff., 11, 351, 

Vitry, Jacques de, 25, 353. 
Vox and the Wolf, The, 5off., 

53, 66, 90, 355. 


Waerf erth. Bishop, trs. Bede's 
Ecclesiastical History, 8| 




Waller, A. R., 3S8. 

Walpole, H., 201. 

Walter, W., no, 3S8. 359- 

Walter of England, 35. 

Wandering Willie's Tale, see 

Ward, A. W., 358. 

Warner, W., 360. 

Warnke, K, 353, 355. 

Warton, T., 359, 360. 

Weber, H., 353, 355- 

Weekly Magazine, and Lit- 
erary Review, The, 189. 

Weekly Magazine, or Edin- 
burgh Amusement, The, 

Wells, J. E., 354- 

Westward for Smelts, 149, 

Wharton, Mrs. E., 271, 314. 

What Was It? see O'Brien. 

Whetstone, G., 120, 127, 128, 
130, 131, 140, 141, 145, 360. 

Wil of Wit The, see Breton. 

Wilkins (Mrs. Mary Willdns 
Freeman), 330, 345. 

William of Wadington, I7ff., 
352; style compared with 
that of Robert of Brunne, 

Willis, N. P., 215. 

Winter, W., ed. of O'Brien, 
282, 284. 

Winter's Tale, The, 143. 

Wonderful Yeare, The, see 

Wondersmith, The, see 

Wordsworth, W., 225. 
Works in Verse and Prose 

of Nicholas Breton, The 

see Grosart. 
Works of Geoffrey Chaucer 

The, see Pollard. 
Works of John Dryden, The 

see Scott and Saintsbury 
Works of Thomas Nash, The, 

see McKerrow. 
World, The, 195. 
W(otton), H., 359. 
Wright, T., 26, 32, 40^ 49i 104, 

„3S3. 354, 357. 

Writing the Short Story, see 

Wiilker, R. P., 351, 353. 

Xenophon, 122. 

Youth, see Conrad. 
Ysopet, see Marie of 

Zayas, M. de, 159. 
Zeitschrift fur Rom. PkiL, 

Zeitschrift fur Vergleich. 
„ Litt., 355. 
Zielke, O., 355. 
Zupitxa, J., 359. 



2 I i960